No, new data does not "blow a gaping hole in global warming alarmism"

By Phil Plait | July 29, 2011 10:45 am

I received a few emails, tweets, and comments on the blog yesterday asking about an Op/Ed article in Forbes magazine that claims that new NASA data will "blow [a] gaping hole in global warming alarmism".

Except, as it turns out, not so much. The article is just so much hot air (see what I did there?) and climate scientists say the paper on which it’s based is fundamentally flawed and flat-out wrong.

It’s clear after reading just a few words that this article is hugely biased. The use of the word "alarmist" and its variants appeared no fewer than 14 times, 16 if you include the picture caption and the headline. The word "alarmist" is pretty clearly slanted against the overwhelming consensus among climate scientists that the Earth is warming up, and that humans are the reason*.

Still, what is the article actually saying?

NASA satellite data from the years 2000 through 2011 show the Earth’s atmosphere is allowing far more heat to be released into space than alarmist computer models have predicted, reports a new study in the peer-reviewed science journal Remote Sensing. The study indicates far less future global warming will occur than United Nations computer models have predicted, and supports prior studies indicating increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide trap far less heat than alarmists have claimed.

That seems pretty clear: if true, it means we may not be heating up as much as scientists predict.

Of course, there’s that pesky "if true" caveat. The Forbes article is based on a paper published in the journal Remote Sensing (PDF). The first author of this work is Roy Spencer — one of the extremely few climate scientists who denies human-caused climate change, so more on him in a moment — and his work has been shown to be thoroughly wrong by mainstream climate scientists.

Stephanie Pappas at LiveScience contacted several climate scientists about Spencer’s paper, and their conclusions were quite harsh. They say Spencer’s model is "unrealistic", "flawed", and "incorrect". As ThinkProgress points out, a geochemist has shown that Spencer’s models are irretrievably flawed, "don’t make any physical sense", and that Spencer has a track record in using such flawed analysis to draw any conclusion he wants.

[UPDATE: RealClimate now has a post tearing apart the science and methodology of Spencer’s paper as well.]

And about the paper itself:

"I cannot believe it got published," said Kevin Trenberth, a senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research.

That doesn’t sound like it blows a gaping hole in global warming theories to me. And this makes the breathless rhetoric used in the Forbes article appear to be far more about stirring up controversy rather than actually tackling the science of the issue.

I did some poking around on the web, and sure enough a lot of far-right blogs are diving on this red meat, simply repeating the claims of the Forbes article. I wonder how many of them actually read the paper or sought outside opinions?

And in this case, those outside opinions are very important. Why? Because of Dr. Spencer’s background: you may find this discussion of him interesting. He is an author for the über-conservative Heartland Institute (as is James Taylor, the author of the Forbes article), which receives substantial funding from — can you guess? — ExxonMobil. He is also affiliated with two other think tanks funded by ExxonMobil. Seriously, read that link to get quite a bit of background on Dr. Spencer.

I was also surprised to find Spencer is a big supporter of Intelligent Design. I was initially reticent to mention that, since it seems like an ad hominem. But I think it’s relevant: Intelligent Design has been shown repeatedly to be wrong, and is really just warmed-over creationism. Heck, even a conservative judge ruled it to be so in the now-famous Dover lawsuit. Anyone who dumps all of biological science in favor of provably wrong antiscience should raise alarm bells in your head, and their claims should be examined with an even more skeptical eye.

It’s too bad, really. I’m not a fan of ad hominems, but the recent attacks on the science of climate change, evolution, and the Big Bang by the far right — and on medicine by the far left — make it necessary to know more about the authors when reading articles. If you simply accept what they say without doing due diligence, you may be led down a road that leads well away from reality.


* Mind you, of course, I use the word "denier" quite a bit when discussing this topic, but in this case the shoe fits. When you deny overwhelming evidence, you’re a denier. Scientists trying to tell people what the science is telling them aren’t alarmists. They’re scientists. And as you can see from what other climate scientists are saying, what the Forbes article is based on apparently isn’t good science.


Related posts:

As arctic ice shrinks, so does a denier claim
Are we headed for a new ice age?
Next up for Congress: repeal the law of gravity
Comic takedown of global warming denial

Comments (272)

  1. I didn’t even read the article when I first heard about it… the title alone gave it all away (just like the recent articles on Archaeopteryx are more for generating controversy and raising readership than presenting the science correctly). Forbes magazine isn’t exactly what I would call a reputable science journal either.

  2. Rogue

    I’m less opposed to ad hominem than you. I find it saves a lot of time. For example, if Glen Beck says something, I just ignore it. Odds are, it’s wrong, and in the event it’s right, I’ll hear it from a credible source soon enough.

    So to me, the first hint this was bogus was it was a science article in Forbes.

  3. Meanwhile, Russia’s permafrost is melting faster than previously observed – releasing more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

    http://news.discovery.com/earth/russia-permafrost-meltdown-110729.html

    Everytime, the deniers try to plug one piece of evidence with deception, another hole of new evidence opens. There’s more holes than they have fingers. And yet, they still have their thumbs up their you know whats.

  4. Sadly my BF thinks it’s all true… I’m starting to wonder about him…

  5. Norma

    Ok… I’m too busy/lazy to go read the original article, but I’m a bit confused: “the Earth’s atmosphere is allowing far more heat to be released into space”. Are they talking visible radiation or infrared radiation? The amount of infrared radiation released goes as the 4th power of the temperature (Stefan-Boltzmann) – i.e., more infrared radiation released than modelled means the temperature is warmer (particularly in the upper parts of the atmosphere) than modelled. (in a one-layer atmospheric model, it’s pretty cut & dried, though a multi-layer non-steady-state atmosphere is a bit more complex).

  6. Christopher Ambler

    I understand your reluctance to resort to ad hominem, but seriously, how about a pointer to some actual *science* that debunks this?

    I don’t want to take their word for it, but I also don’t want to take yours. And I don’t want to base my opinion on attacking the author.

    How about you attack his science? Then you don’t need to resort to anything except, well, *science*.

  7. JohnD

    What most folks forget (including James Taylor of the Heartland Institute) is that Spencer does not deny that temperatures have risen thanks to anthropogenic CO2 emissions; here simply thinks that there is a feedback from the clouds that hasn’t been appropriately included in most models. To quote the LiveScience article you cite: “Spencer agreed that his work could not disprove the existence of manmade global warming.” (emphasis added)

  8. VinceRN

    Mentioning this guys support of ID is not an ad hominem at all. It shows that he puts belief ahead of science and that is important in assessing his work.

    A lot of this is beyond me, and the paper seems intentionally obfuscated with technical jargon compared to others I have read, but assuming that his data is correct, what I get out of the paper and the conclusion (“the presence of time varying radiative forcing in satellite radiative flux measurements corrupts the diagnosis of radiative feedback”) is that perhaps it means we might be wrong about the rate of future change, that perhaps the horribly complex models used are not complex enough.

    I know this is being used to attack climate change, but at most it seems to say that some of the details still need fleshing out. I don’t see anything here that actually contradicts the premise of climate change.

    As for climate change being wrong in some of the details, of course it is. Some details are off in one direction, and some in the other, and some probably haven’t been considered. The idea that everything we think now is 100% accurate about the global environment is absurd. However, the basic premise of change is clearly, overwhelmingly true, and the small errors likely average out. As time goes on and more science is done we will certainly get more accurate, and understand more, but nothing is likely to show that there is really no change at all.

    On a side note, here in Western Washington we would really love to borrow some of that global warming. I miss summer.

  9. SLC

    All one needs to know about Mr. Spencer is that he is on the board of directors of the George Marshall Institute which is second only to the Dishonesty Institute as a purveyor of denialist propaganda. Among other things, this outfit questions the link between cigarette smoking and lung cancer, CFCs and ozone depletion, and the existence of acid rain.

    Mr. Spencer is just another example of a once productive scientist turning into a crank, just like Linus Pauling, Peter Duesberg, J. Allen Hynek, Brian Josephson, Michael Behe, and Lynn Margulis.

    In addition, Mr. Spencer is an evolution denier and proponent of ID (apparently, at one time, he was a young earth creationist). All and all, not the most reliable source of scientific opinion.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Marshall_Institute

  10. Adam

    ^what he said.

  11. Martin Tucker

    Dr. Spencer is a signatory of the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation’s “An Evangelical Declaration on Global Warming” which states:

    “We believe Earth and its ecosystems — created by God’s intelligent design and infinite power and sustained by His faithful providence — are robust, resilient, self-regulating, and self-correcting, admirably suited for human flourishing, and displaying His glory. Earth’s climate system is no exception.”

    http://www.cornwallalliance.org/blog/item/prominent-signers-of-an-evangelical-declaration-on-global-warming/

  12. Phil,

    I don’t think mentioning Intelligent Design is an “ad hominem” attack. Goes to mindset, which is important to consider when looking at the author’s thought processes. You’re fine. :)

  13. Lonny Eachus

    Let’s see, Phil:

    You use the terms “denier” and “delialist” in your blog posts, but “alarmist” is a red flag? Seems to me that claim itself is pretty much a red flag. When the pot calls the kettle black, maybe it’s time to start looking for some new cookware.

    True, that article (as I mentioned when I tweeted the link to you) is anything but unbiased. But if you want a more objective and reasonably-toned article about the same findings, you can get it here in the press release from the University of Alabama, which appears to be backing Spencer’s findings.

    But what is really the kicker, to me, is that you are quoting Kevin Trenberth as an example of a reputable, unbiased scientist! Come on, Phil, even you should know better than that. Trenberth has been caught in bald-faced lies on the subject both there, and in email exchanges with climate scientist Dr. Wibjörn Karlén. Kevin Trenberth’s politicization of (and abandonment of actual science in) the greenhouse warming issue is THE REASON that some scientists have refused to do any further work with the IPCC!!!

    While your “warmist” friends (see what I did there?) might deny the validity of the paper, the fact remains: the paper does indeed show discrepancies between CO2 climate warming models and the actual instrumental data, over a period of decades. Who is in denial now, Phil?

    The press release I linked to was from the University of Alabama, NOT just from Roy Spencer. I will take the word of a reputable university over the word of one blog poster known to be biased on the issue. Especially given the nearly hysterical tone in which this one seems to have been written.

    After following your blog posts on this matter for some time, I have no choice but to conclude that your own writings on the subject are at least as biased as those you criticize, and sometimes even more so. As a scientist, you should be ashamed of yourself. Based on your extremely biased coverage of this topic, in my view your own credibility as a scientist is pretty much gone.

  14. #3, follow the link labeled “has shown”

    Phil, thanks.

  15. HvP

    Even giving Spencer the benefit of doubt to assume that our models predicting the future climate might be flawed does nothing to mitigate the well substantiated fact that past and current temperature measurements actually do show an advanced warming trend.

    It’s like the oft quoted trope about someone claiming that the math shows bumblebee can’t fly. Well, observations show that it does fly, so there is something wrong with your math. Similarly, if Spencer’s math shows that the atmosphere shouldn’t be warming up then the observations clearly contradict his assumptions.

  16. the only thing worst then the Yahoo article is this review of the actual SCIENCE by this Blogger / author on THIS web site.

    I agree that Mentioning this guys support of ID is not an ad hominem attack.

    BUT Phil Plait does not actually review any of the science at all here does he. ?

    The Only thing PHIL PLAIT does is attack Spencer. He attacks Spencer through the Heartland Institute which admittedly is extreme and is funded by some energy companies.

    what really ticks me off is the idea that a web site / organization like THINK PROGRESS asn LIVE SCIENCE is somehow Unbiased …. an assertion which is as silly as those who argue the heartland institute is.

    Phil Plait would of had a bigger impact on ME if he had just sited the other scienitific research and opinions and leave out Political Organizations such as Live science and thinkprogress.

    That being I will go look at the data myself.

  17. SLC

    Re the Heartland Institute

    It should be noted that the Heartland Institute was originally set up by the tobacco companies to dispute the relationship between cigarette smoking and lung cancer. Currently, it shills for the Koch brothers on climate change denialism.

  18. Luis Dias

    Phil quotes ThinkProgress for clues on this theme.

    Now you may wonder why no skeptic will take Phil seriously on this matter. He’s utterly clueless to the blogosphere related to these thematics!

    Not to say that Roy’s idea is a good one. IDK about that. But this blog post is just filled with ad hominems, wild handwavings (my friends say this is hogwash, so there!) and not really informative at all. We learn that you won’t even read it and try to understand it, since the people that disagree with him tell you that it is patently hogwash. Now that’s a surprise! What else would they say anyway? He’s trying to say that they are wrong, and then you ask them if he’s correct in his assessment. Do you have any clue about what “investigation” even means?

    Above all, mr Phil, this is not how scientific discussions are held. You should know that. Instead, you just go down the same muddy path all the rest of the blogosphere choses to go through. Shame on you. Here’s a hint. If you don’t know what the hell he’s talking about, go link to people who do and who are willing to share with us their analysis of the paper. Don’t you go editoralizing about stuff you clearly have no clue.

    Because that ain’t being a skeptic at all. That’s just voicing other people’s opinions. Congrats, you are a megaphone for other people.

  19. Luis Dias

    I was also surprised to find Spencer is a big supporter of Intelligent Design.

    This may tell us a thousand times more about his social conditions and environment than about the validity of his climatological opinions and hypothesis.

    It’s not something that anyone who takes his opinions seriously should ignore though. Just don’t use it to counter his paper, mkay? It’s just a muddy tactic. We should also remind ourselves of the silliest of beliefs that were held by Isaac Newton. Didn’t make his laws of gravity wrong though (that took relativity).

  20. dan

    @Christopher Ambler,

    Click through some of Phil’s links, especially the one to LiveScience to read a more in-depth discussion of the science. I think Phil’s point is that Spencer’s reputation and motivations precede the content of his paper. Considering the background of the author, the tone of the Forbes article and, most importantly, the flimsy-at-best nature of the paper itself (can 10 years of RS data really tell us enough about the earth’s climate systems to turn the field of climate science on its head?), the important question is, “why is this thing getting so much traction?” It seems clear to me that this is yet another example of the climate skeptic community turning a blind eye to bad science so as not to lose their tenuous grip on the denial dogma.

  21. Pepijn

    @Christopher Ambler: he *does* give (several) pointers to actual science that debunks this!

  22. Draa

    These people are insane and a danger to our entire society. It’s a shame that people believe their nonsense.

  23. bigjohn756

    WTF, Phil! Why on Earth do feel that you need to explain word play to us. “(see what I did there?)” is an insult to everyone reading this blog. Do you really think your readers are dolts?

    Now on to reading the rest of the post, but with trepidation of being subjected to further insults.

  24. I don’t think it is necessarily an ad hominem when you are clear that the reason you bring up ID is to raise further skepticism into the man’s claim. I think it is fair, for example, to be more skeptical of claims made by someone who has a history of lying than those of someone who has a history of being honest. It is when you say, “I don’t believe you because you are a lier!” that it becomes an ad hominem. (On the contrary, stating, “I am highly skeptical because you have a history of being a lier,” is not an ad hominem.)

  25. Phil, did you also see the other global warming related news yesterday, about BOERME apparently harassing Charles Monnett, the scientist who saw dead polar bears in the Arctic Ocean in 2004, which lead to the polar bears eventually getting “threatened” status? http://news.yahoo.com/apnewsbreak-arctic-scientist-under-investigation-082217993.html

  26. garth

    I read that, and thought “when’s Phil going to reply, it sounds full of garbage” and 24 hours later, here we are. It’s hard to trust any climate articles written in business magazines, anyway.

  27. Lonny Eachus

    Michael Tobis:

    In that blog post Barry Bickmore criticizes Spencer for positing forcings in his climate model, when mainstream climate scientists have been claiming EXACTLY the same thing for CO2. If his criticism is valid against Spencer, then it is valid against CO2 warming models as well. You can’t have that both ways.

    Further, even if Spencer were 100% wrong in the things he put in that book, it still isn’t a valid criticism of his most recent paper. In that he was using OTHER PEOPLES’ climate models, not his own. So the same criticisms could not hold, regardless.

    dan Says:

    If 10 years of data cannot “turn the field of climate science on its head”, then the current “hockey stick” projections by some client scientists must be wrong, too. Again, you can’t have that both ways.

    If there is to be criticism, I would like to see specific criticism of THIS paper and its methods, not talk about what a goof this guy is. If we are going to discuss a reputation for twisting the truth, then again I will point at Kevin Trenberth, who is quoted above as one of the “good guys”.

    I am pretty tired of seeing “the pot calling the kettle black”. There is another word for that: hypocrisy. I have seen it over and over and over in these blog posts of Phil’s, and the discussions following them. Clearly at least some of the time it has not been intentional, but that doesn’t nullify its existence.

    I am about done here. I feel compelled to go elsewhere, to where people claiming to be scientists actually discuss the science, rather than their own preconceptions and the reputations of others.

  28. SLC

    Re Luis Dias @ #12

    We should also remind ourselves of the silliest of beliefs that were held by Isaac Newton. Didn’t make his laws of gravity wrong though (that took relativity).

    This is an absurd comment. Issac Newton lived 400 years ago when the scientific revolution was just getting underway. Given the state of knowledge, most of his ideas should not be considered silly in the context of the time.

    In particular, one of the criticisms of Newton was in regards to his experiments in alchemy. Given that the notion of the atomic table and the nature of the atomic nucleus was totally unknown at that time, Newtons’ attempts to turn lead into gold through chemical processes was not at all unreasonable, given the state of knowledge then.

    The fact is that Mr. Spencers’ embrace of ID is based totally on his fundamentalist religious views and has nothing to do with the state of scientific knowledge on the subject, some 150+ years after the publication of Darwins’ Origin of Species.

  29. QuietDesperation

    make it necessary to know more about the authors when reading articles. If you simply accept what they say without doing due diligence, you may be led down a road that leads well away from reality.

    OK. So I went to the Think Progress site, and saw the first link basically trying to tie conservative thinking in the US to the Norway mass murderer. I know some will say that’s not what they are really doing, but simply analyzing the two in the same article says all that needs to be said about intent. It’s a hoary old trick that’s been around since the year dot.

    I guess Anders Breivik seems a safe anti-poster boy to the Left after trying to paint Jared Loughner as an über-rightwingnut blew up in their faces.

    This is why I treat ideology like ebola. Yeah, the Heartland Institute does the same thing. Meanwhile, those of us who care about nothing but the truth need giant fans and air blowers to struggle through the smog for the real science.

  30. bigjohn756

    Suppose that the atmosphere really is releasing more heat to space than predicted. Doesn’t that mean, based on the temperature data to date, that warming is actually worse than previously thought?

  31. DanVeteran

    My question is; does the NASA data show “from the years 2000 through 2011 show the Earth’s atmosphere is allowing far more heat to be released into space than alarmist computer models have predicted”? Is more heat being released than predicted and if so, why?

    I understand the person writing the article is a nut, but what does the data show. No one has addressed that.

    Dan

  32. Luis Dias

    @SLC

    The fact is that Mr. Spencers’ embrace of ID is based totally on his fundamentalist religious views and has nothing to do with the state of scientific knowledge on the subject, some 150+ years after the publication of Darwins’ Origin of Species.

    The fact is that Roy’s ridiculous beliefs about ID are utterly irrelevant to the field where he *has* worked for decades, and perhaps much more relevant to the social environment he is inserted. I don’t really mind people saying that he has idiotic beliefs, etc. Just don’t use that kind of rethoric as a counter to a peer-reviewed paper by himself, and I’ll stop thinking you take me for a fool.

    And I’m really appalled by Trenberth’s remark, but even more by the ludicrous non-sequitur that Phil makes of it, pretending it is a kind of argument against the paper. Stop taking the audience as imbeciles, and then perhaps you’ll recover some respect.

  33. Luis Dias

    @QuietDesperation,

    That quotation you give is astonishing in its irony, since we then see Phil Plait quoting an utterly partisan “blog”, which is funded and edited by the Center for American Progress Action Fund, a leftist think tank presided by John Podesta (Bill Clinton’s chief of staff).

    Phil has either no integrity whatsoever or is just lazy beyond belief (or beyond naive).

  34. Sam H

    ^Aie, yet another ad forumem war. *facepalm*

    The science stays the same (it’s real and we’re causing it, the question is how bad will it get), but note to Phil: While Luis Dias is going too far with being a bit of a loudmouth on the issue, he has a point: show more hard evidence and real scientific data rather than just quoting general disagreement that (too many) will take to be handwavium. You’ve done this before – and given the importance of this issue, you should do it again.

  35. Daniel J. Andrews

    If you don’t know what the hell he’s talking about, go link to people who do and who are willing to share with us their analysis of the paper.

    Since you want analysis…
    arthur.shumwaysmith.com/life/content/mathematical_analysis_of_roy_spencers_climate_model

    arthur.shumwaysmith.com/life/content/roy_spencers_six_trillion_degree_warming

    I assume you have the background to understand the analysis since you want to be shown how something is wrong, not just be told it is wrong.

    Also, here’s a 2008 article from working climate scientists looking at one of Spencer’s paper and demonstrating how he cooked his graphs to support his preconceived notions. This goes beyond Spencer making mistakes–mistakes happen–and moves into perhaps deliberate deception or intellectual laziness or mixture of both on Spencer’s part.

    realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/05/how-to-cook-a-graph-in-three-easy-lessons/

    this is not how scientific discussions are held.

    You’re right. No-one has scientific discussions about whether the earth is stationary or not, or whether or not the U.S. landed men on the moon, or is CO2 a greenhouse gas. We don’t need scientific discussions about whether or not the earth is really warming. The science has moved far far beyond that.

    Warming is now unequivocal*, supported by many independent lines of evidence, and it is highly likely happening because of our emissions. If it isn’t our emissions, then no-one knows what it is because all other hypotheses have been carefully examined and disproved, and there have been some very imaginative hypotheses–overturning the consensus, finding a new climate-related mechanism, would be the holy grail of scientists yet despite their intensive search which would lead to fame, Nobel Prizes, nothing has stood the test of time.

    *and when normally cautious probability-speaking scientists start using the word “unequivocal”, it is wise to pay careful attention.

  36. RobM1981

    I hate to resort to ad hominems, but they’re all I have left…

    Hey, here’s an idea: the NASA/CERES data is available. The article is in a peer reviewed journal, which means that reviewers can be questioned publically.

    Here’s the PDF: http://www­.mdpi.com/­2072-4292/­3/8/1603/p­df

    Perhaps instead of this tripe, we can apply some actual science to this and have some review of the data and the model. If it’s true – if CO2 really isn’t as insulating as modeled, and if the planet dumps heat earlier than presumed, then it does indeed “blow a hole” in the alarmism.

    There aren’t that many critical parameters. CO2 levels and CO2 insulation values would clearly be foundational. A change in either would be huge.

    So either refute the data, scientifically, or accept that you are wrong.

    And you wonder why the alarmists are called “alarmists…”

  37. Lonny Eachus

    Daniel J. Andrews:

    Repeat: whether his own climate models in the past were flawed is completely IRRELEVANT to whether OTHER PEOPLES’ climate models actually fit the instrumental data, which is what this paper is about.

    Please stick to the topic, folks.

  38. Sometimes I sit and wonder how the generations that follow me will handle the situation as it escalates. If we do in fact pass that point of no return and we’re basically stuck with the consequences… what will happen to the deniers? I mean the average person will pull the “I was with the “alarmists” all along! But what about people that have published proof of endorsing a world where greenhouse emissions were perfectly acceptable? Will they be hunted down and thrown in jail for basically being blind to obvious signs?

    But that’s just one scenario. I’m hoping that the signs become clear enough – soon enough that the problems are addressed aggressively and the tide is turned. However I figure the most likely scenario is very little happens and it all happens too late… then we’re stuck with a changed world with fewer habitable regions and millions of geo-refugees. And these people? The politicians, lobbyists, and handful of scientists who refused to see the signs? They’ll probably get off without much blame just like they have in the past.

    People just get so caught up in being right that they can’t see that even with or without human-effected climate change, the matter of keeping the world a clean livable place should be a primary goal, and just about every single thing that would prevent global climate change is just another way us to keep the world clean and health. With the emission of greenhouse gases from fossil fuel burning comes all of the other terrible toxins that pollute the air, soil and water… how is it bad to avoid that? It’s not. But the people that control our government say it’s fine. Why is that? Not because they hate the environment or have some vested interest in the lack of wellbeing it creates, but because the companies that fund campaigns that allow them to stay in their position of power have a vested interest in maintaining these fossil fuel processes.

    So your the leaders of your power plants and your car manufacturers and your oil procuring and refinery operations want to keep things as they are and ultimately make them more profitable… and there’s not a whole lot we as consumers can do about it. Your only hope is to be an educated voter and know the loyaty of your representation. If they’re loyal to the money grubbing folks that don’t care whether you live or die as long as you throw down your dollar, find someone else who will represent you based on your needs and wants. That way maybe somewhere down the road we can have a government that cares about making our country and world a better place instead of a place where they have the deepest pockets.

  39. Lonny Eachus

    Endyo:

    Quote: “People just get so caught up in being right that they can’t see that even with or without human-effected climate change, the matter of keeping the world a clean livable place should be a primary goal, and just about every single thing that would prevent global climate change is just another way us to keep the world clean and health.”

    This may be true but it is not so black-and-white. The main issue here — which most people posting to these blogs very much wish to evade — is one of cost.

    Even if the CO2 warming models are correct (a point I do not concede), the costs of reducing CO2 emissions enough to make any real difference — according to those same models — is enormous. Astronomical (if I can be forgiven for using that word here). And I don’t mean just costs in dollars: the opportunity costs of making the efforts to do so are so huge that many people, when told about them, simply refuse to believe.

    For example: one estimate, given at a TED conference, is that (again assuming the CO2 warming models are correct) for the same amount of money and effort needed to reduce temperature by a mere 1/2 degree C over the next century by reducing CO2, could instead be used to COMPLETELY END world hunger. Even given the world’s growing population.

    So the question isn’t whether it is a good idea to do those things anyway. The REAL question is: where do we best put our money and our efforts? Both of those goals (and others) are Good Things, but which should we choose? Which is the “greater good”?

  40. Luis Dias

    I assume you have the background to understand the analysis since you want to be shown how something is wrong, not just be told it is wrong.

    Wrong Daniel, you shouldn’t assume anything about me, and we’ll be perfectly fine. RealClimate isn’t exactly a pure source itself, myself having seen many instances of sleight-of-hands in there. I see no purity anywhere in this debate, and that pisses me off a bit. So let’s just stop this discussion of who’s a virgin here, because clearly we are not talking about saints.

    Warming is now unequivocal*, supported by many independent lines of evidence, and it is highly likely happening because of our emissions.

    Thanks for deviating the conversation to a completely annoying and boring distraction that serves nothing but rethorics, perhaps trying to corner any potential disagreement by coloring people with silly beliefs. I want no part of that discussion. Thanks for the other sources, though.

  41. Steve

    How about the fact that my home town, Lubbock, TX, has set a record for most days over 100* this year (while still in July, with all of August to come), and we’re THE hottest city in USA based on average daily temperature for the past 60 days!?!?!?! I don’t claim to know the reasons, but I do realize our LOCAL climate is slowly changing slowly, and local effects are all that concern me. LOL

  42. Gary

    Not a fan of ad homs, Phil? Then why use them? Oh… because they’re red meat to so many of your readers. Have YOU read the paper? Or are you just relying on the opinions of those people you like? For someone who considers himself to be a skeptic not to go to the source and examine the observational data, methods, assumptions, and conclusions for validity is pretty pathetic. Instead you beat up a third-party, politically-motivated article and declare the research DOA.

    C’mon, hold yourself up to the standards you apply to others. Read and review the paper for us — on your own, without anybody else telling you what to think.

  43. Lonny Eachus

    Steve:

    While at the same time, my town has experienced the coolest spring and early summer on record.

    Anecdotes about local weather are not evidence in the climate debate.

  44. Lonny Eachus

    Gary:

    That’s a very good point. If anyone is interested, you can view the abstract here and download the actual paper as a PDF.

  45. Lionel

    >>Mentioning this guys support of ID is not an ad hominem at all.<<

    You're right it's a non-sequitur. If he believed in the tooth fairy, cryptozoology, or the second gunman on the grassy knoll, all haven't any bearing on the validity of his claims in his published research.

    This entire blog post is rife with arguing against Spencer (ad hominem) more so than disputing his claims directly.

    Personally, the fact that "climate scientists" are in disagreement with Spencer does not surprise me nor do I think it has any real bearing. Of all the sciences, to my knowledge, climatology and meteorology are the two sciences with the worst record with predictive results. IMO, they are the red-headed step children in the world of science. While the most fundamental of sciences that have the best predictive results, such as physics, have a substantial number of skeptics of AGW and even the "greenhouse" theory altogether.

    As for this article, many climatologists will acknowledge that "the greenhouse effect" is a misnomer, so the possible fact that a lot of radiation may escape the atmosphere should not be a surprise I would think.

    Source: Falsification Of The Atmospheric CO2 Greenhouse Effects Within The Frame Of Physics

  46. Dave

    The whole issue is moot since global warming is a farce based on distorted models. Only a moron would believe that humans could adversely affect the climate globally. Increases in CO2 are offset by plant growth, increase in temperature are offset by cloud formation reflecting more energy. I realise that you must be getting nervous over your popularity and funding drying up as the global warming farce is revealed for what it is but there are jobs out there for marketing people and used car salesmen that you are fully qualified for. So give it up science has caught up to the hoax called global warming.

  47. Fluoric

    I’m in the Skeptic crowd and quite frankly don’t know what to believe anymore. The people screaming the loudest about the topic are typically not technical people and the provided solutions to Global Warming are driven by politics and involve either an increase manufacturing costs (at the core level) and/or to over regulate (again increasing costs).

    Can someone for the LOVE of GOD please provide:

    A) At what rate the Earth’s temperature is increasing (or decreasing)?
    B) What fraction is due to human activity? – Nobody seems to have an answer for this one.

    You will win a cookie if you can lead me to some numbers.

  48. Composer99

    Dias:

    When you say:
    “go link to people who do [know what Spencer is talking about] and who are willing to share with us their analysis of the paper”

    You mean like Barry Bickmore, who studiously went through Spencer’s favoured model as used in Spencer & Braswell 2008 and found it wanting in the post Phil linked to (thus establishing a precedent of Spencer misusing simple models & data)?

    Or Gavin Scmidt, who in the LiveScience article Phil linked to said:

    “If you want to do a story then write one pointing to the ridiculousness of people jumping onto every random press release as if well-established science gets dismissed on a dime,” Schmidt said. “Climate sensitivity is not constrained by the last two decades of imperfect satellite data, but rather the paleoclimate record.”

    While not explicitly related to the Forbes column, Skeptical Science has recently published a summary post of the empirical evidence supporting the hypothesis of human-induced greenhouse warming. Unless Spencer & Braswell 2011 can overturn all this empirical evidence by pointing out a discrepancy in a single decade’s worth of data, methinks James Taylor is the one who is going down muddy paths.

  49. Carey

    In addition to the repeated use of “alarmist”, I also found the reference to “United Nations computer models” to be a hilarious red flag that this article was just chock-full of denier dog whistles. The article itself is written at 3rd grade level and repeats itself so often that I figured it was written by one of those content-generating spam bots.

  50. Pete Jackson

    You don’t need anybody’s analysis or opinion to see how global warming is doing. Just look at the data, right here:

    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/global/

    As you see, it’s chugging along quite nicely. It’s a consistent trend.

    You can bookmark this link, it gets updated around the 25th of each month for the previous month.

  51. Hayne Crum

    The question is not who pays for the research, but is it accurate. In this case there is a glaring inconsistency with current global warming models and observed mid atmospheric temperatures. That does not mean we do not have global warming, just that the current models are wrong. That does not mean that we should not be alarmed at the warming trend, only that we do not understand it as well as some people claim. The deviation of temperatures in the mid and upper atmospheres are significant. If the current model is wrong, any attempt to fix the problem are doomed to failure. Money spent adapting to the changes would be better.

  52. Winston

    This article is a rich combination of twaddle and poo.

  53. Composer99

    On the matter of Spencer being a proponent of ID:

    Given he is in meteorology & climate science, his positions on intelligent design may not instantly disqualify statements he makes on climate science.

    But since ID/creationism is a form of scientific denialism with regards to contemporary biology, it does, I think, validly raise red flags, and his conclusions should be met with more scrutiny & skepticism, since so much of what passes for AGW ‘skepticism’ is, like ID, scientific denialism (in this case, with regards to atmospheric physics).

  54. actor212

    But it’s a peer reviewed article! Remotely, even!

  55. Yojimbo

    @ Lonny Eachus

    For example: one estimate, given at a TED conference, is that (again assuming the CO2 warming models are correct) for the same amount of money and effort needed to reduce temperature by a mere 1/2 degree C over the next century by reducing CO2, could instead be used to COMPLETELY END world hunger. Even given the world’s growing population.

    This is all well outside my area of expertise, but, assuming these numbers are correct and not derrived in a misleading way, it seems to me that 1/2 degree C on a global scale is a pretty huge reduction. In terms of climate is it really necessary to have that great a reduction? If we could stop the upward trend and, say, reduce the temperature 0.1 degree C, would that not be a significant step? And it would leave enough money to end 80% of world hunger, which doesn’t sound bad.

  56. Frank59

    I see nothing but attacks on anyone who doesn’t buy global warming and it’s catastrophic consequences. Let me tell you what it is going to take to convince all the unwashed “like me” that it is a serious problem. I am going to have to see actual physical evidence where I live that it is causing a problem. I have seen acid rain and overpopulation and pandemics and other chicken little stories come and go. I live on the coast. I go to the same piers, coast lines, rivers and estuaries I have for the past 30 years. The water is not rising. I don’t hear anyone else saying it is rising. It seems no hotter than it did in 1960 or 1970 or 1980……

    Until real evidence shows up most of us are not going to sweat it..were not going to change our habits for a theory. We are not against saving energy, protecting the enviornment, wildlife etc. We are for all those things. But we do not see a connection between what global warming adherents harp about and our own lives.

    Produce some hard evidence other than Russian permafrost and we’ll take notice.

  57. Liberals Lie

    Wow… the data obtained by Forbes is all wrong. Kind of like the Climategate emails which exposed grossly false data being used by the U.N.?

  58. Dave

    Basic tenant of science, you can’t prove a negative. You also need an experiment to disprove a theory, but ID makes no experiment possible. SO if this author had even an elementary school understanding of science, that whole nonsense about proving ID wrong would be embarrassing. The most you can say is that it is not a scientific theory since it can’t offer testable predictions. Ah well this was clearly a hack piece anyway, but my mother teaches third grade and she would be embarrassed if her students understanding of science was so poor.

  59. Composer99

    Considering the difference between where I live being covered with fields & forests and being covered with mile-high ice sheets is a ‘mere’ 5-6 degree C difference in global mean temperature, I’m skeptical of Lonny’s disparaging of reducing warming by a ‘mere’ 1/2 degree C.

    Also, a link providing independent confirmation would be nice.

  60. PI

    Lonny Eachus (#27):

    Bickmore isn’t criticizing Spencer for merely positing the PDO as a forcing. He’s criticizing Spencer for using a manifestly wrong “climate model” to analyze the PDO forcing.

  61. Anonymous

    Phil Plait: “I was also surprised to find Spencer is a big supporter of Intelligent Design.”

    Must have a problem with Obama too then and any other politician that believes in a “creator.” I got to say, sure is fun watching you libs trip over yourselves . . .

    And, by the way, you said a lot to basically say: I don’t like the source.

    Next time, try actually attacking the message, rather than the messenger. It’s really sad having to tell that to someone in science. Then again, it’s this ease at which so-called scientists over-look such contradictory data that got us here.

  62. Impulse

    Thank Phil. I was going to e-mail you this when I saw it but figured if it was big enough you’d talk about it anyway, glad to see you covered it.

  63. Daffy

    #47

    Dave, I find it endlessly fascinating that people like you assume research scientists are all part of some vast conspiracy unless they actually work for—and receive money from— the energy industry.

    Please demonstrate the mechanics that have gone into this “hoax.” That is your word—so please show a plausible way this hoax has been perpetrated.

  64. Properal

    With a title like “No, new data does not ‘blow a gaping hole in global warming alarmism’,” I was expecting an explanation of what the new data could mean. Instead I found ad homonym attacks and critiques of the models that tired to explain the meaning of the new data. Are there any models that are realistic, unflawed, make physical sense, and explain the new data?

  65. Lev

    I went and read the paper, and it really is quite poor.

    First of all, there’s now new data; this is all re-analysis of existing data.

    Basically, there are two points to it. In the first, the authors show that some existing climate models do not quantitatively reproduce time correlation between extrema in surface temperatures and radiative fluxes. It is not clear how important that is, though it would surely be desirable to do better. This is figure 3 (a and b) in the article, if you’re reading along.

    In the second point, the authors propose a very simple model that they claim does a better job on predicting this correlation, by assuming that its primarily zero-lag radiative forcing that’s most important. However, the predictions of their model, shown in figure 4, are not directly compared with the experimental data – they are simply stated to ‘vary in a manner similar to the satellite data in Figure 3.’ (Its not clear whether they mean 3a or 3b.) In fact, the author’s model doesn’t really do any better than the existing climate simulations; they all get the maxima and minima wrong by similar amounts. This is, simply, obfuscation, and the reviewers should have caught it and demanded an apples-to-apples comparison before accepting the paper.

  66. Lawrence

    So, scientists paid by the energy industry or folks with a vested interest in disproving “climate change” are a-ok, but other scientists receiving research grants & paid by either the government or educational institutions must be lying or part of some big conspiracy?

    Yeah, that makes a whole lot of sense.

  67. brad.tittle

    Once again sir, you disappoint me.

    Dr. Spencer attempts not to deny global warming. He is trying to point out the flaws in the models. There are serious flaws in the models. Most notably that they can’t predict anything with much accuracy closer than 50 years and we haven’t exactly verified their ability to predict at 50 years have we.

    If you look at his blog postings, he isn’t exactly the poster child for the Denialist side of things. He has to convince those damn denialist that it is possible for energy transfer to happen in ways that aren’t obvious. He posts the satellite data that aren’t always heartening because they sometimes show increases.

    Dr. Spencer is one of the few people in the middle of this damn debate.

    As to the 1/2 degree reduction — Part of Bjorns argument was that that 1/2 degree reduction lasted 2 years. We can go to herculean efforts to save the bangaledeshi from having to move, but he will still have to move 2 years later…

  68. Utakata

    “The commentary for this article is rich in trolls and poo flingers.”

    /fixed that for ya Winston at 53

  69. marmot

    You don’t want to go “ad hominem” but apart from some vague accusations of “flawed” science you don’t present anything but ad hominem fallacies. Sounds quite likely this guy is as biased as you say but this article certainly doesn’t convince me. Try putting forward some real arguments to support your position and you’d have much more of a chance.

  70. Resist the NEOCON deniers. We must believe.
    We must trust the carbon trading markets and corporations and politicians to manage the temperature of the planet.
    We must call it consensus even though all of the thousands of consensus scientists all have personal and unique views of CO2 climate crisis.
    We must trust the good and trustworthy politicians who promise to lower the seas and make the weather colder by taxing the air.
    We must continue to believe in climate change crisis despite Obama not even mentioning the crisis in his state of the union address.
    We must believe even though the number of consensus scientists vastly outnumbers the marching climate change protesters.
    We must believe and spread our love for the planet as we condemn billions to a CO2 death just to make sure the kids turn the lights out more often and vote left.
    We must believe even though the thousands of consensus scientists refuse to march in the streets themselves. Don’t they have families to save too?
    Believe. Believe. Believe so we can defeat the evil bible thumping necons and those ignorant of the ways of THE SCIENCE!
    ALGORE is my shepherd; I shall not think.
    He maketh me lie down in Greenzi pastures:
    He leadeth me beside the still-freezing waters.
    He selleth my soul for CO2:
    He leadeth me in the paths of self-righteousness for his own sake.
    Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of reason,
    I will fear no logic: for thou art with me and thinking for me;
    Thy Gore’s family oil fortune and thy 10,000 square Gorey foot mansion, they comfort me.
    Thou preparest a movie in the presence of contradictory evidence:
    Thou anointest mine head with nonsense; my fear runneth over.
    Surely blind faith and hysteria shall follow me all the days of my life:
    and I will dwell in the house of ALGORE forever.

  71. Scientists were the problem. They polluted the planet with pesticides in the first place and since every scientist had their own personal definition of crisis, safe to say it was a criminal exaggeration? Scientists gave us germ warfare, cancer causing chemicals, deep sea drilling technology, landmines……………….And we bowed to the thousands of scientists who strangely outnumbered the protestors somehow? The same countless thousands of scientists who sat on their hands as Oboma didn’t even mention the “crisis” in his last state of the union address? Those ones? And why are they not marching in the streets for what they are telling us is an emergency akin to a comet hit; unstoppable warming.
    And now the scientists put on this pathetic show they call consensus when every single one of them has a differing view of Human CO2’s effects, presuming first that climate change is real. A consultants w&t dream and comfortable lie for the rest of you.

  72. Meanwhile, the UN had allowed carbon trading markets run by corporations and politicians to trump 3rd world fresh water relief, starvation rescue and 3rd world education for just over 25 years of climate CONTROL instead of the obviously needed POPULATION control.

  73. Bill Stowell

    I suggest all global warming believers take a deep breath, then dive into data driven science.

    Prof. Richard Lindzen , professor of meteorology at MIT, wrote the article in the attached link:

    http://www.cato.org/pubs/regulation/regv15n2/reg15n2g.html

    Based on data collected over the past 20 years or so, carbon dioxide has negligible effect on global temperatures.

    For my part, I will believe that mankind significantly influences global temperatures when you show me the working thermostat that has been placed on the sun.

  74. A Consultant’s W*t-Dream: Climate Change
    Yes all 3000 scientists are wrong because they all disagree with each other, not agree with each other. Tell me how it can be called consensus when every single scientist on board with the theory and every science organization have a different and unique view of climate change and what the effects will be? So they studied the effects of something that never happened, thus presuming climate change as real. Exaggeration in science is called the “worst case scenario” and since scientists and science poisoned the planet with their pesticides in the first place, I can’t trust them enough to condemn helpless children to a death by CO2. Now who is the ignorant, red necked neocon?
    Anyone still supporting the CO2 mistake hates the planet AND humanity. Do you rubber neck car accidents too and wish for other people’s misery to happen? Proof you doomers are phony:
    You wanted to hand over the climate to carbon trading markets run by corporations and politicians. Not going to happen.

  75. John Sandlin

    Norma @5,

    You have the same thoughts I did when I read that Forbes Article. So the Earth is releasing more heat, which I read as infrared energy, which means the Earth is warmer than the models that Roy was using as his examples of how the Earth is radiating faster than predicted. I thought to myself, “Yes, that’s because those models were to conservative about how fast the Earth would warm – it’s already warmer than the models predicted it would be now, the oceans are rising faster and the Arctic ice melting faster, that those same models predict.”

    Having thought that, I figure Roy is reading the chart upside down. It doesn’t blow holes in the CO2 warming models, but underscores it’s worse than we thought.

    jbs

  76. JoeJP

    Plait complains about Spencer’s bias/affiliations, but then cites Kevin Trenberth as if he were a neutral source?

    I can only laugh.

    “Bad Astronomy” is increasingly an appropriate moniker for Mr. Plait’s work.

  77. Jim

    I’ve yet to see any proof that isn’t flawed either way, for or against human caused climate change. The only undeniable fact is that the Earth has been warming and cooling for billions of years.

  78. pinroot

    It’s interesting that you seem to take offense at the overuse of “alarmist” and its variations, but manage to justify your use of “denier.” Apparently telling us how the sky is falling for the past 20 years (while none of the horrific predictions seem to come true) is ok, but questioning that makes one a denier.

    Science is all about skepticism and being skeptical isn’t the same as denial, although in the minds of AGWers it is.

  79. David

    I have to ask this. How did the peer review fail? It seems really straight forward to check the data from this paper. The models predict x amount of reflected IR and the paper claims x-n was detected. I totally agree article about the paper was crazy talk but just how is was the observed re-radiation of long wave IR wrong?

  80. brad.tittle

    I do disagree with Dr. Spencer on one aspect of what he does. He reduces the global average temperature down to a point. This is about as useful as looking as watching a dime in the debate on the debt ceiling.

    A better reduced chart would be to plot the temperatures experienced on the planet completely. At any given time temperatures experienced on the planet ranger from -60C to +45C. Plot the entire damn range make temps that show up more darker than temps that show up less. You could set the opacity on the point based on its historicity. You will get a chart of the condition of the planet at any given time that isn’t as subject the vagaries of averages.

    When I plot the tide, there is a low tide mark, a high tide mark and a mean tide mark. When you do you averages and ignore the high and low, you lose vast amounts of relevance. You lose context. You lose clarity.

    What you gain is the ability to scare even the staunchest of scientists who should know better.

    Temperate is also an insane way to proxy energy. It is a way, but there is a reason they beat enthalpy into my head in engineering school. Some genius figured out that Temperature doesn’t characterize the energy in a system very well.

    When our illustrious Experts in climate change start posting up their charts with enthalpy units, and start using a zero point that isn’t optimized for FUD, I will start giving them some credence.

    Some of the experts are starting to do their analysis in enthalpy. How long exactly has enthalpy been part of the Thermo Curriculum? Maybe they only started teaching that when I got to school in 87 and that is why it has Michael Mann still hasn’t quite brought it into his analysis.

    Can you point me to the post you made when Steve McIntyre discovered the fatal flaw in Mann’s hockey stick? You know where it turns out that no matter what data you put into Mann’s model, you get a hockey stick.

    You did RIP HIM A NEW ONE, right?

    I missed that post though.

    You also ripped new holes in Jones arse, when it was discovered by McIntyre again that most of the warming that was found in the forests of Russia was because of 1 tree.

    And you definitely got pissed when you saw Muller’s explanation of how they just removed data that was inconvenient to their argument?

    I don’t expect you to agree with my position on this subject. I JUST EXPECT you to be pissed when people thwart science by flipping their finger at it no matter who it is.

  81. Daffy

    mememine69,

    Wow…not a single fact, just emotional hyperbole. You should write for Fox News.

  82. Utakata

    That’s depending on the evidence of such conspiracies and what has been proven to that effect, Lawrence at 63. Personnaly, I don’t like conspiracy theories because they distract from the issue(s) at hand, and add needless complexity and fodder for trolling. I’d rather go after the elephant in the room instead of who might of put it there. /shrug

  83. Name (required)

    Why are you disagreeing what they say? More heat released could mean there’s more heat inside.

  84. foret37

    Amazing… 67 comments about second-hand summary of a paper. How many people have read the Spencer paper? I gave it a quick read. It is rather benign. There are hundreds of papers published like this every year. The fact that it is published does not mean that it is automatically correct. Nor does the possibility that it might be wrong require that it not be published. The science literature allows for a refined kind of debate. Authors have to try to move the ball forward. In other words, they have to work within the context of their discipline. For example, in physics, it is generally assumed that mass, energy, and momentum are conserved. In other words, one cannot simply propose a new world with new physics. Ideas and interpretations have to be clearly articulated and referenced. The common approach for a paper providing a new contribution is to summarize the current state of the field and then to show how the new theory or observations provided in the paper help to resolve some problem or issue within the field. The theory or observations are then presented, and the implications discussed. The conclusions commonly include suggestions about how to test the contribution or to move the problem forward. All of this happens one paper at a time. There generally is no single paper that suddenly changes the direction of a field. The process is slow, steady, and very carefully debated. There is very little room for politics or for spin.

    So, rather than blog, I suggest that we spend more time reading the primary literature. It is not possible to have an educated discussion without knowing, at the very least, the basics. The influence of green-house gases, such as CO2 and water vapor, on radiative heat transfer is a good start. That principle explains why green-houses can remain very warm during the winter, so it is no some kind of crazy left-wing idea.

  85. QuietDesperation

    Phil has either no integrity whatsoever or is just lazy beyond belief (or beyond naive).

    Well, er… I wouldn’t be that harsh. I still dig Phil and his blog. People can disagree without it instantly being hate (I know the media likes to depict otherwise). I just was a bit disappointed that he’d ding one site for being ideological then link to another that is using, at least in that article, some pretty transparent ideological tropes to exploit the tragedy in Norway.

  86. Lifelong liberal

    If a scientists opinions are suspect because he does not believe in anthromorphic climate change. Then we should not believe the scientists who DO believe in anthromorphic climate change either.

    The numbers are indisputable, much more heat is dissipated than models forecast, therefore the climate change models are incorrect. When the world was found to be round only the extremists still believed it to be flat.

  87. Paul from VA

    For those looking at a more thorough debunking of the actual content of the paper, realclimate (which should be your go-to resource any time an unusual claim about AGW is getting extensive airtime in the media) now has a piece up:

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2011/07/misdiagnosis-of-surface-temperature-feedback/

  88. QuietDesperation

    Can someone for the LOVE of GOD please provide:

    And you can, in fact, guarantee me the love of this so called “god” if I answer? ;-)

    Also, is there a love of a goddess option?

    A) At what rate the Earth’s temperature is increasing (or decreasing)?

    It depends on what initial conditions you present to the computer models.

    B) What fraction is due to human activity? – Nobody seems to have an answer for this one.

    It depends on what initial conditions you present to the computer models.

    As I’ve said many times, I’m not a “denier” (don’t really like that word here, either), but nor am I one of the alarmists. Climate changes, and it make sense that humanity could have some effect in that area. However, having worked with various engineering computer modeling tools for the past 20 years, I know that such things can be fraught with peril. I’ve seen relatively simple models of systems built with sound, logical assumptions diverge wildly from reality.

    I have a lot of skepticism that even the best current models of the entire world’s climate will not similar divergences long before some of the projections that go out decades can come to fruition. Actually, I’m tempted to send these groups a resume. I can get them up and running with the new generation of FPGA based super computers that can kick up their processing assets a couple orders of magnitude.

    Although admittedly all the processing power in the world won’t save a erroneous model. It’s like building the biggest baddest gaming PC in history. It’ll still crash from a bug, or display nonsense if there’s a bad video card driver.

    You will win a cookie if you can lead me to some numbers.

    Well, that is one of the values that is under study. I don’t think even the alarmists will offer up a number there.

    Can I have cupcakes instead?

  89. “Roy Spencer is the Bill Kristol of climate science.”

    Now THAT’S an ad hominem.

  90. James Taylor is escaping attention here. He’s concluded that the word “initiation” is synonymous with “completion”:

    http://rabett.blogspot.com/2011/05/forbes-james-taylor-initiation-means.html

    A less charitable conclusion is that he realizes they’re different but hopes people won’t check the links.

    Either way, he’s not worth reading.

  91. SLC

    Re Bill Stowell @ #75

    That the Prof. Lindzen who denies that cigarette smoking is a cause of lung cancer?

  92. grat

    Well, it’s not like Phil provided any *facts* to contradict the basic premise of the article– The earth isn’t retaining heat nearly as much as the CO2 models predict.

    This is the second article I’ve read by Phil Plait regarding someone who had something skeptical to say about global warming… and the entirety of the rebuttal by Bad Astronomer was “he’s an idiot, because my friends say so!”. No attempt to address the actual claim, rather, a full-bore attack on the researcher, the funding, and global warming deniers.

    I’m not sure there’s quite the gap between “science” and “religion” that the two sides would like to believe– Accepted scientific theory seems to be given the status of Matter of Faith, and it takes overwhelming evidence to disprove something commonly believed.

    I’m neither a skeptic, nor a denier, or a believer, or an alarmist… I’m just waiting for a reasonable scientific discussion. This isn’t it.

  93. Fez

    My, my. Nothing brings out the tone and concern trolls like something that challenges conservative ideology.

  94. On past experience I guarantee that nothing will come of this, but don’t take my word for it. Just watch this small challenge evaporate as further data comes in. Trenberth and Fasullo have already begun to pick away at the hype surrounding this paper:

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2011/07/misdiagnosis-of-surface-temperature-feedback/

    The big red warning sign for me is their observation: “The basic material in the paper has very basic shortcomings because no statistical significance of results, error bars or uncertainties are given either in the figures or discussed in the text. ”

    If true, and I have no reason to doubt this statement coming from two of the planet’s most eminent scientists, this strong supports the hypothesis that no competent peer review has been performed. None. That’s pretty bad stuff.

  95. Jeffersonian

    @#38 “If we do in fact pass that point of no return and we’re basically stuck with the consequences… what will happen to the deniers?”

    We already are past that point. If you reduce your footprint by 15% and your neighbor decides to have 5 kids that grow up onto the carbon network, your effort is negated. GEOMETRIC POPULATION INCREASE + DEVELOPING NATIONS ENTERING THE GRID = WE NEED A NET REDUCTION IN THE NEXT 10 YEARS THAT’S NOT POSSIBLE.

    “Will they be hunted down and thrown in jail for basically being blind to obvious signs?”

    Sure. Look what happend to the two guys that borrowed a trillion from China and lied about WMDs so they could throw a party in Iraq. They’re rotting in jail. Not.

    @57. Frank59 Says:
    “I am going to have to see actual physical evidence”

    Lucky you. I live wth the evidence in my face. Guess you either don’t travel much or else stick your fingers in your ears.

    @mememine69
    Got anything besides straw men, false dichotomies, correlation=causation, argument-by-dismissal, begging the question or affirming the consequents?

  96. meirelle

    http://environment.yale.edu/climate/news/SixAmericasMay2011/

    “While approximately 97% of publishing climate scientists agree that climate change is occurring and that it is caused primarily by human activities, this high level of scientific agreement is understood by only 44 percent of the Alarmed, 18 percent of the Concerned, 12 percent of theCautious, and 5 percent or fewer of the Disengaged, Doubtful and Dismissive.”

  97. Jim S

    SLC, yes it is the same Lindzen.

  98. VinceRN

    We had a blog post that discussed the science, and gave sources to demonstrate what it was talking about. Then we initially had a few posts talking about the science and about the paper. The the comments devolved into political diatribe.

    This is what’s wrong with any discussion about climate change. Instead of discussing the science all such discussion become political name calling contests and therefore useless.

  99. Chris from Maui

    Fundamentally, climate science became my first skeptical epiphany. No one topic in science is more muddied with BS. No one believes anyone on anything on either side unless they are truly an extremist on one side or the other. Established science is only established until it’s over-turned (oops…. I sound like a denier…..) I changed my lightbulbs out for LEDs and I recycle (putting on my cosy climate-change overcoat….. whew now I look the part.)

    Seriously, for the remainder of my days I will live happily not believing either side on this issue. Money pays for the science on this topic (on both sides) and the money will get the report desired. That said, I will do my part as a Christian (oh God, I actually typed that…… ahh… I said God!) to be a good steward of this wonderful planet as it makes laps around a giant ball of gas among countless billions of balls of gas.

  100. James Poulsen

    If you haven’t already, i suggest you boycott coast to coast am as he was VERY warmly interviewed by the host last night. Oh, and he denied any oil company funding outright.

  101. MeMyI

    This article, in response to the one in Forbes, is suffering from the same problem. There is no evidence provided that Dr. Spencer’s article is wrong. Can you provide an alternative interpretation? Obviously, Dr. Spencer’s view on Intelligent Design brings his credibility into question, but that argument is not sufficient to dismiss his paper. What is the alternative view of the data? Is anyone publishing a paper with a different conclusion?

  102. Guess I’m late to the party, but thought I’d mention he was in the first two hours of Coast to Coast AM on July 28 about this. (He = Roy Spencer) The blurb states, “In the first half, research scientist Dr. Roy Spencer argued that new NASA satellite data contradicts global warming models. The satellite data showed that during a warm year, the Earth actually loses energy/heat into space much more so than any of the climate models that the UN used to predict global warming, he reported. The satellite data also suggests that cloud cover would further act to cool temperatures, rather than heat things up as the UN climate models predicted, he continued.”

  103. mom

    to the author: thanks for counting the number of “alarmists” in the column. i read it the other day and lost track after six or seven.

  104. QuietDesperation

    I changed my lightbulbs out for LEDs

    Are you in some area that’s getting something new? Here in So Cal the best I can find are 40W equivalent, so it’s CFLs for me for now. We also need a new measurement for bulb brightness rather than comparing them to incandescent power levels. Lumens, I suppose. The CFLs list their color temperature which is sort of cool and sciencey for product packaging.

    I am looking at a couple remote controlled color changing LEDs for the living room, though, just because that would be cool.

  105. gene

    Ok, HOW is it flawed. You can’t just give me the “opinion” of someone saying, “Well, that’s wrong”. I’d like further explanation on why this study is wrong. What specifically about the study is wrong? Was the data collected correctly? Was the data interpreted correctly? If not, why? Details, details, details….

    Otherwise YOU are engaging in the VERY type of dismissal that you accuse the global warming skeptics of engaging in. One of the readers above even said, ” I didn’t even read the article”. Well…lol…if dismiss something without even reading it, and then accuse others of doing the exact same thing…then you are …well….hypocritical.

  106. Joshua Corning

    “The use of the word “alarmist” and its variants appeared no fewer than 14 times, 16 if you include the picture caption and the headline. The word “alarmist” is pretty clearly slanted against the overwhelming consensus among climate scientists that the Earth is warming up, and that humans are the reason*. ”

    I do not mean to alarm you or anyone but the the image that you chose to accompany this article is of EARTH ON FIRE!!

  107. Sam H

    ^Jesus H. Christ in a resurrected space shuttle. *facepalm*. Obvious trolls are obvious (especially that pompously sarcastic @72 bad bible pun), and this thread went nowhere many cycles ago. Phil: you really should consider replying to some of these people, whether they’ll listen to you or not. This is starting to turn into Rebeccagate part 2.

  108. Brad D.

    @ Frank59:

    I have seen acid rain and overpopulation and pandemics and other chicken little stories come and go.

    Guess what? Acid rain didn’t become the disaster it was projected to be because…… the government implemented a “cap and trade” policy for sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions by power plants. And it turned out to be hugely successful.

    http://www.epa.gov/airmarkt/cap-trade/docs/ctresults.pdf

  109. tempor

    Why do people expect Plait to give a scientific rebuttal to the paper? He’s not a climate scientist, and we live in a hyper-specialized age. Check RealClimate if you want the science.

  110. Freerefill

    I agree, Sam H. The vitriol is thick in this one. Frankly, I think Phil did a fine job, short of writing up a fully scientific peer-review of the published paper (and if he did, why would he post that hard work on naught but his blog?). And the people who are so angry at him for not attacking the lack of science with good science is just… I don’t understand it. This is his personal blog, which he has reminded people of numerous times. He’s allowed to post whatever the hell he wants. And yes, people are allowed to form their own opinions, but I’d like to think that they should be informed opinions (which, many people who are not forming those seem to think they are, otherwise, highly informed individuals) and recognizing that Phil never once promised to turn his blog into a peer-reviewed journal. So having an ill opinion of this blog because it is a blog and not a scientific review is.. I would say.. an uninformed opinion.

    However, I’ve been on the Internets for long enough to know that this comment is probably going to get more people irrationally upset (Someone on the Internet is WRONG!) so I’m going to pop out and let whatever is going on here to continue.

    Phil, if you’re reading this, don’t take any of that crap to heart. You’re a good guy and you’re doing just fine the way you are. If you ever feel as though some of the jerks above me have merit, just remind yourself that you don’t even come close to PZ Myers, and he’s a teddy bear compared to Dawkins, who in turn is a marshmallow compared to Hitchens.

  111. bad Jim

    QuietDesperation, there are some LED functional equivalents, but you won’t find them at Target or Ace. I found a dimmable replacement for a spot bulb at Lowe’s, not cheap ($20?) but it does the job. Home Depot might have its like.

    Back during California’s 2001 electricity crisis (thank you Enron!) I replaced as many incandescents as I could with CFL’s from Ikea. One synergy I ran into was with the so-called “Pharmacy” lamp, the sort with a tent-shaped brass shade, which came with a warning not to exceed 40W lest the shade burn your nose. Fluorescents are 4x as efficient, so, suitably retrofitted, the silly things are no longer merely mood lighting.

  112. Mikr

    Sorry, but this piece was as poorly written as the Forbes article. You do no cover, even at a high level, what is incorrect about the premise.

    You appear just as extreme as Spencer, but on the opposite end. You then claim to not support ad hominem attacks, but do just that! Attack Spencer’s ideas, not his affiliations. I imagine many readers would find your affiliations just as questionable.

    Waste of my time.

  113. nomuse

    Man, what frickin’ morons. People, (you dozen or so denialists that rushed in to hum the “Concern Troll is Concerned” refrain as soon as you noticed a new climate-related thread), Phil very clearly and plainly stated he was not going to discuss the science, he isn’t trained in the field, and that there are plenty of places to find in-depth discussion of the science if you want it — heck, he even provided a few links to get you started.

    What, if Phil had posted about his feelings about a new law in Texas, would you be up in arms because he didn’t discuss the legal details (and isn’t a lawyer anyhow?) If he posted about seeing a bird in his backyard, would you scream because he didn’t attempt to accurately identify the exact species and migration pattern and go out and tag the bird himself for later tracking?

    No. But let him post about climate science, and suddenly you are all false concern about not getting an in-depth look at CLIMATE science in an ASTRONOMY blog that often talks about how science and politics intersect (usually to the detriment of science).

  114. QuietDesperation

    No, alarmist is more for people who are “ZOMG! We’re going to be Venus in 100 years! Quick! Shut down civilization!”

    I exaggerate, of course, but you get the idea. A non-alarmist says there is warming, it’s human caused, and we should really start looking into it. New technology, new energy sources, ways to mitigate the effects of warming while we find solutions.

    Some like the cap and trade thing, but that always seemed a bit flim-flammy to me- a political solution to an engineering problem. Meh.

  115. 120 Quite Desperation: check the link in #115. Cap and trade worked on acid rain, and it’ll work on CO2. With some kinks and abuse to work through too, but welcome to the real world.

  116. Sean

    “Back during California’s 2001 electricity crisis (thank you Enron!) I replaced as many incandescents as I could with CFL’s from Ikea. ”

    Be careful with the CFL’s. I’ve had two of them burn, one to the point of flames. They can and do catch on fire. I never leave them on when I leave the house.

    A light bulb is simple; one wire.

    The CFL’s have a transformer and capacitors, resistors, diodes, ect… too much to go wrong.

  117. aleksandar

    This is all very nice, but unless Forbes publishes a retracting of the article and a apology, meaningless. No one cares about what is true, people care about what they read or hear in big and respected media.

  118. Ron Adelmann

    Lonny Eachus wrote:

    “After following your blog posts on this matter for some time, I have no choice but to conclude that your own writings on the subject are at least as biased as those you criticize, and sometimes even more so. As a scientist, you should be ashamed of yourself. Based on your extremely biased coverage of this topic, in my view your own credibility as a scientist is pretty much gone.”

    I’m surprized that Lonny Eachus still shows his face around here after he was shown to be wrong on even basic scientific knowledge.
    Lonny you are so perceptually blinkered that you can’t even see when you’ve had your ass handed back to you on a silver platter. And you talk about bias..You are the very essence of denial.

  119. Mister Chelsea's Dad

    @ brad.tittle

    You seem impressed by M&M’s hockey stick paper. You might want to take a look at Deep Climate’s analysis at http://deepclimate.org/2010/11/16/replication-and-due-diligence-wegman-style/ which make a good case for M&M having cherry picked their data to give the results they wanted.

  120. KMD

    Thousands of years ago we had Glaciers all the way to New Orleans and they melted away. The Earth will continue to warm for awhile and then another ice age will appear. Mankind has little or no effect or control over it. Global warming will go down in history as one of the greatest scams pulled on the world public to gain power and money in the misguided belief that mankind can control the destiny of earth. We are finding vast cities of the ancients under the seas of the world, they had no control over what the earth did to them, just as we have no control over what will happen to us.
    Enjoy the ride.

  121. IA

    What’s wrong with ad hom comments? When you have tried for years to explain the science and the individual concerned firstly ignores the science and then deliberately distorts the science and then deliberately refuses to correct his errors, then you are entitled to say, ‘this guy is a knobhead’.

    Any scientist that says they believe in ID or creationism is worthy of derision and scorn. It’s not a personal attack to say that this person’s scientific views are worthless – it is axiomatic. Some beliefs are so stupid that you have to question all the views expressed by that person.

  122. Messier Tidy Upper

    Hmm .. NASA has observed that 2010 tied with 2005 as the hottest year on record :

    http://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/2010-warmest-year.html

    From there :

    Global surface temperatures in 2010 tied with 2005 as the warmest year on record, according to an analysis released Wednesday by researchers at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York. The two years differed by less than 0.018 degrees Fahrenheit. The difference is smaller than the uncertainty in comparing the temperatures of recent years, putting them into a statistical tie. In the new analysis, the next warmest years are 1998, 2002, 2003, 2006, 2007 and 2009, which are statistically tied for third warmest year. The GISS records begin in 1880.

    That’s fairly new and conclusive data. So warmest years on record since 1880 :

    1) 2010 & 2005 (statiscal tie)

    3) 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2003, 2002 & 1998 (statistical tie)

    Yeah, no sign of global warming there .. :roll:

    All those recent years in the “hottest ever” column are pure coincidence.

    Just co-incidence despite the fact that we know carbon dioxide traps heat, the basic physics on that is clear and as Richard Alley says : “There’s just no escaping that”) or the fact that we keep adding it to the atmosphere at increasng amounts but, nah, no way we could actually be doing anything!

    Or is there? Let’s see what the evidence says :

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2010/10/26/climate-change-the-evidence/

    Um, yeah, there’s a problem with Human cuased GlobalOverheating alright.

    Oh and it’s not just computer models as this shows :

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w9SGw75pVas

    Nor is it something that started with that egomanic Al Gore, scientists like Isaac Asimov and Carl Sagan and Svante August Arrhenius have been studying and discussing global warming and the greenhouse effect long beforehand. Back to 1896 when Arrhenius first noted :

    .. if the quantity of carbonic acid [carbon dioxide – ed] increases in geometric progression, the augmentation of the temperature will increase nearly in arithmetic progression.

    Source : Svante Arrhenius’es wikipedia page.

    Does anything in this new paper conclusively refute that or the other piles of growing evidence for the reality of human caused Global Overheating? I don’t think so.

  123. Lawrence

    Part of the problem is that, instead of engaging in a rational debate about how this new information may or may not effect the current models (and could potentially be put to good use to refine the information we already have), people on the “no man-made global climate change) are shouting from the rooftops that this one study immediately invalidates everything that has gone before – so, in essense, don’t worry.

    This problem exists on both sides of the equation – taking one piece of information and trying to apply it as the end all, be all conclusion – which never happens. The fact that decades of research and information has lead to a consensus, and we are continuing to both refine and make changes as new information is available, doesn’t mean that all of that will immediately be invalidated by one piece of new evidence (which, needs to be both fact-checked and put into the body of knowledge to see what it actually means).

    So, instead of jumping the gun here, why don’t we see what this actually means first, before throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

  124. @122 aleksander –

    …and the media uses emotion, not science, to incite people.

    Funny thing, that. Emotion always trumps science.

    Just like in politics and customer service, those who scream the loudest win, while the rest of us (and our children) have to live with the remains of a despoiled Earth.

    I’ve read several posts here which state something very similar to, “I want proof that mankind can do ANYTHING that changes this planet’s ability to sustain us.” I won’t state any science here, because I don’t have the background. However, I will say this:

    Human beings have populated this planet in numbers very large compared to other beings of any comparable size, and that includes all of known history. We cut down the trees that support the life cycle required for us to live. We mistreat the soil to grow non-native plants wherever we please. We send megatons of smoke, both visible and not, into the air in great quantities in order to go from one place to another at our convenience, smoke that hinders the atmosphere and sun from doing their jobs that made this planet habitable for us in the first place.

    I don’t care whether or not there’s scientific proof of whether or not humans are changing the livable environment of this planet. Anyone with any thought process that is functional should KNOW we are doing that. It can’t be otherwise, and that’s what blows me away about the statements from folk who say that climate change is hooey. How can ANYONE believe that we can pump environmentally damaging chemicals into the air, water, and land while simultaneously removing from the planet the very living things that can fight the damage we are causing (trees and other living things that turn the poisons into the air we need to live), and NOT affect our planet.

    Emotion does NOT trump science. It just causes human beings to be lazy and continue on the paths we are already on, especially Americans, of which I am one. We see it in all walks of life, and we keep shooting future generations in the ass.

    A perfect example of this is 09/11. People who live on hate (one of the most powerful emotions) fly planes loaded with human beings into building filled with other humans. Americans are outraged for a few months, then we start complaining about the efforts made to avoid such catastrophes in the future. Why did/do this? Simply because it inconveniences us. It really is that simple.

    Financial corporations reward executives and employees who fail to do their jobs with lots of money, basically causing a global economic meltdown, and anyone who can do something about this is too scared to prosecute these people, so we are right back where we were just before the big fail.

    How incredibly selfish we have become.

    People choose not to vaccinate their kids against diseases for reasons based on a questionable study (ONE study), when the odds of a child developing autism are orders of magnitude smaller than of that same child dying of the disease the vaccination prevents. How does that make any sense?

    The answer is: it doesn’t. However, the reaction against vaccinations is emotional, not scientific. THAT’S the rub.

    I don’t advocate that we become automatons, totally without emotions. Doing that would also wipe out humanity. It’s just a shame that we can’t control our emotions just a smidge better, so that we can use our minds properly when our emotions send us into dangerous places.

    Some comments here have brought up the costs (Money? Really?) of fixing the problem without real proof that there is one. Would someone please calculate the cost to Humanity if the people who say that climate change is bunk are wrong? Why is it that we are so ready to not do anything as opposed to making a strong effort to heal our planet JUST IN CASE THE SCIENTISTS ARE RIGHT???

    This debate is just so hard to understand. How can anyone support doing nothing, and delay the progress we could be making because scientists might be wrong? It seems to me we could change the global economy dramatically to the positive if we started initiatives now to reverse the damage we are causing daily. We could probably eradicate some of the afflictions that have plagued us in recent centuries by making the air cleaner and healing the soil and air.

    We need to stop looking at the best case scenario and focus on the worst ones. Otherwise, the worst case is what we will have.

  125. Messier Tidy Upper

    Nor is it something that started with that egomanic Al Gore,

    This recording from 1956 :

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sdALFnlwV_o&feature=view_all&list=PL029130BFDC78FA33&index=19

    by Gilbert Plass is evidence for that.

    Oh and this clip :

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UGVgrRAyQmw

    & this one :

    http://www.youtube.com/user/greenman3610?blend=1&ob=5#p/u/0/cE7TCvgLqo4

    shows what has been happening in the Arctic since then as a result of the issue discussed there by Plass all the way back then – and by Isaac Asimov in 1977 and others over the decades too.

    Science works. Science gives us microwaves and moon rockets and mobile phones. When ittells us we have a problem – we do need to listen.

  126. Sapphire

    Amidst all the garbage the commenters seem to have missed the point. Phil was not intending to produce a critique of Dr Spencer’s paper but of the magazine’s unjustified use of a single paper and its overly dramatic headline.
    Ad hominem attacks are always suspect but it does help to know a person’s belief system when it comes to examining their conclusions.
    Forbes represents the views of people who would prefer to see global warming relegated to an esoteric dispute between cloistered scientists – anything so long as it does not threaten their power and wealth. Their conclusions are therefore suspect.
    Spencer is part of an organisation that believes in an overarching power that will have its own way with humanity no matter what we do. “God” may want to rescue us despite our efforts or “God may want to use global warming to destroy us. Either way it is “God’s” choice, not the work of human kind. Perhaps he does not bring this to his conclusions but if he does it makes his conclusions as suspect as the young earth creationists who openly state that they reject any interpretation of the data that does not conform to their interpretation of the “word of God”.

  127. Thank you, Discover, for covering the facts of this scientific debacle. Unfortunately, “Barber”, this debate is not so hard to understand once we consider that corporations that profit from pollution have established a huge mechanism for the promotion of misinformation. We who care about the integrity of science need to work just as hard to counter that misinformation. Resources like this one here are helping to do that. Let’s all do our part to spread the word.

  128. JupiterIsBig

    #124 Barber – hear hear !
    Of course we can’t do anything that affects the planet !
    We can and do affect the tiny, tiny bit of the planet that supports us – the biosphere, aquasphere and troposphere.
    I really think people who think otherwise, just don’t like being told they’ve been living their life the wrong way – and their parents were wrong too !

  129. Muzz

    QD @92 you disappoint me. The man(?)’s questions have little to do with models. This debate is a such a mess partly because the deniers have constantly painted the theory as something made up by looking at computer models from which you can actually see anything you like.
    Yes a rate is going to change according to what range and initial conditions one uses to calculate it. But that’s a fact of mathematics. And yeah, that’s called statistical modelling too. But we needn’t confuse the issue further with the climate models used for projection that make for constant reference in the media. Make it clear.

    Fluoric
    No one can tell you a rate because a rate is tied to a period of time. The data however shows a pretty clear upward trend. Look at any global temperature series you like. It’s there. This trend is matched by the increase in atmospheric CO2. Something predicted by physics. We know humans are the ones increasing it because of the isotopic makeup of the carbon. It can only have come from burning fossil fuels.
    If heat is being more readily trapped by the earth, and it is, it’s because of us.

    People phrase questions like yours because they’ve heard the sun or whatever is doing it all and us messing about is going to be irrelevant in the end. There’s nothing to really suggest that this is the case. The other thing is there are reasons to reduce atmospheric CO2 that have nothing to do with temperature, polluting the ocean being the main one.
    The reason people are fussing now before anything very serious has really happened is that it’d take a long time to do anything about it.

  130. TruthDetector

    “It’s clear after reading just a few words that this article is hugely biased. The use of the word “alarmist” and its variants appeared no fewer than 14 times…” Interesting – using the word “alarmist” is clearly biased, but using the word “denier” is just…neutral…no bias shown…if that happens to correspond with your bias.

  131. Ellen O'Day

    Of course, global warming is not in dispute. Just visit a few glaciers in different locations on the globe and one can see GW in action for oneself.

    What is in dispute is whether GW is man made. Whether it is trulyAGW.

    Take the Columbia ice field in Canada for example. I have been there several times and it is clear that it has receded significantly over the last 150 years. (Historical photographs from the late 1900’s can be seen at the museum.)

    But here is a question for all the AGW people:

    1. The IPCC report states that AGW started in about 1976 when industrial activity reached a critical point for the creation of CO2. CO2 production and absorption were no longer in balance.

    2. If AGW is a fact what type of warming caused glaciers to melt from around 1850 to around 1976?

  132. The problem with the historical pattern is that what appears to be CO2 causing temperature rise is revealed as incorrect when the scale of the hockey stick plot theory is closely examined. The CO2 increases and temperature peaks are actually separated by hundreds of years. The long scale of the plot makes them appear close together.

    When it was revealed that a change in the plot for tree ring as a proxy for temperature rise was shifted to current temperature readings not projections from tree rings, no one noticed that that shift invalidates the previous plot. If temperature diverged from tree ring predictions in recent history it could have done the same thing over the full model.

    Examine the scale used in parts per million. If one part per million is taken as one inch. Then the current CO2 concentration is about the eight yard line on a football field. If the concentration rises to 360 parts per million it reaches the ten yard line while the entire million parts make a line fifteen miles long or about 270 football fields. That is not believable as a causative factor in temperature rise.

    The science used to prove the connection between CO2 concentration and temperature rise is not accurate.

  133. Rena Olevay

    NASA is wrong. sure they have all that “Science stuff” and a unique viewpoint from space, but none of their ideas have been run past the DNC or Hollywood. how right can they REALLY be?

  134. The rank hypocrisy expressed by climate science contrarians on this thread is appalling.

    Seriously, we have people telling Phil he ought not to dismiss Spencer on account of his positing warmed-over creationism (alias Intelligent Design) and then turning right around and dismissing the Think Progress article on account of their own ideological biases – even though the Think Progress article explicitly refers to Barry Brickmore’s critique of Spencer’s favoured model.

    And then we have people complaining about Phil not providing links despite:
    1- Ignoring that he intially linked to Brickmore’s deconstruction of Spencer’s model and subsequently linked to a RealClimate article which details several problems with Spencer & Braswell 2011
    2- Failing to provide links to substantiate their assertions themselves (seriously, I don’t think I’ve seen a single hyperlink in the first 126 comments posted by a contrarian).

  135. Anyone interested in a “Coles Notes” version of the Real Climate review of Spencer & Braswell 2011 can see here (the linked-to comment and the one following).

  136. Jeff

    Of course not since you are really a “Selective Skeptic” and global warming is your religion.

  137. The Heartland Institute is not funded by the Kochs, not that there is anything wrong with that. It hasn’t received a dime from ExxonMobil since 2006, not that there’s anything wrong with that, either.

    And it certainly wasn’t “founded” by tobacco comapanies. Truth at the “about” page at heartland.org.

  138. Captain Nemo

    It’s easy to figure this out if you bother to find the sources of the research:

    A) Most scientists who believe in human-caused global warming research (starting as far back as 1978 when I was being taught about this in my undergrad Ecology classes) work for academic institutions or independent scientific organizations.

    B) Most scientists who do NOT believe in this phenomenon work for institutions set up by institutions (big oil, big coal, etc) with a vested interest in CO2 remaining uncontrolled. The fact that many of these institutions have a history of denying science (smoking and lung cancer, for example, or the link between CFCs and ozone depletion) speaks to their lack of scientific validity.

    As to the allegations in “Climategate”, multiple independent investigations (by governmental and independent scientific groups) found no fudging of science, no evidence of any email being destroyed, no evidence of any malefaction. Believe me, if the deniers could have proved Climategate was true, it would have been front page news, and it wasn’t. The worst the UK gov’t investigations could find was a possibly “misleading” graph. Notwithstanding that, that investigation concluded that good data were used and good science was done. What they found was a bunch of scientists who trapped themselves in “bunker mode” due to the raging controversy about their work that was keeping them from doing their work and who made themselves look foolish in their frustration (“maybe we should just destroy the email and stop talking with these people” being the gist of the email that kicked off all the fuss).

    See, if we get this WRONG, we’re screwed, which is why we need good science, not science that advocates for vested interests. Screwed how? Among other things, heating the top levels of the ocean (already happening, nobody disputes that) increases the acidity of the upper sunlit layer where phytoplankton live. If phytoplankton can’t survive, then nothing that lives on them will, either, and that means we’ve kicked out the base of the entire pyramid of ocean life (pretty much everything that lives in the ocean either eats phytoplankton or eats some organism that does eat it). There are also effects like rising sea level (not just because of icecap meltwater, also because warm water takes up more space than cool water), screwed up growing seasons, or worsening storm intensity and frequency.

    We have to get this right, or we truly do face a dystopian future of decreasing arable land as weather patterns change (in a world that already has trouble feeding itself), destruction of habitat along the ocean edge (where the great majority of ocean species reproduce and a large percentage of humans live), degraded conditions for marine species all the way down the water column, and nastier ocean storms that can strike farther and farther inland as the ocean rises (one meter sea level rise sinks huge portions of most US East coast cities and would let waves break miles inland).

    We can’t afford to let the same people who told us smoking didn’t cause cancer to keep us from working to avoid (or at least attempt to mitigate) what might have been a preventable and predictable disaster.

    And yes, I do have an advanced degree from an independent university in Biology and Ecology. So, please don’t tell me I don’t know what I’m talking about.

  139. Hal Nedham

    looks like the “mob mentality” is alive and well here.

  140. Nichol

    Is ExxonMobile really financing this climate denial stuff? If so, would it not make sense to fill your car’s tank with fuel from other oil companies that acknowledge reality?

  141. Johnny

    I see the “Smear Spencer” campaign is alive and well. I remember when this blog used to be about science.

  142. SkyGazer

    Look! July! Normally sun and some 30ºC (occacionally a little lukewarm drizzle) and now all month cloudy and then… 200cm rain/square mtr in two hours!
    Unknown to me with 42 years experience here and all the olders in town and around.
    Video:
    http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=135063396582036

    And thats what I think is what “global warming” is about. A lot of people think everything gets warmer. Summers hotter and winters less cold.
    Personally I think it just makes mahem with the weathersystem.
    More heat makes bigger temperature differences and that´s what kicks off bigger storms, more rain etc etc.
    The weather is the same but more extreme.

  143. Darbon Cioxide

    Oh come on you scientists, where is the evidence that CO2 causes global warming, I mean apart from all the reams of evidence goin’ right back to that Svante Arrhenius dude?
    You know the claim that CO2 causes global warming is an extraordinary claim. At least thats what my friend who ignores ALL the scientific evidence says. And since he ignores all the scientific evidence he must be correct, right? Because we all know that scientists aren’t in this for the science; they’re really marxist myrmidons that want to take over the planet, right? Its all a conspiracy eh Uncle Lonny?

  144. @148 Hal Nedham –

    What do you mean by your statement?

    @147 Captain Nemo –

    Thank you for chiming in here. Unfortunately, those on the other side of the argument always have a nice set of pat answers to anything said by a scientist on the correct side of this. This topic shouldn’t even be a discussion, much less an argument. We should just be trying to save the planet with every resource we have before it’s impossible to turn things around.

  145. Utakata

    This kinda makes me wish Phil would of posted this over on Pharyngula as a guest poster. The nonsense peddlers of global warming deniers would find themselves quickly ripped apart like a dog’s chew toy, before PZ merciffully places their tone and trolling behinies in his dungeon.

    This does suggest cowardice on their part…because they know they can get away with it here. They feel if they push this nonsense enough here, people will start believing it. Baffle them with BS enough, peeps will start buying it. This why they like throw a lot of numbers, obscure links and other forms of flawed logic, yet they’re unlikely to have more credentials on climate science than the person flipping hamburgers at McDonalds. (You know, none of these denial claimers have stated they’re actually climate scientists.) They’re like the mansplainers on Elevatorgate; they’er people who simply don’t get it or want to. And thus we shouldn’t really entertain them by arguing with them….least not here. Just saying.

  146. SLC

    Re Jim Lakely @ #146

    And it certainly wasn’t “founded” by tobacco companies. Truth at the “about” page at heartland.org.

    The Heartland Institute has been, since its founding, a shill for the tobacco companies.

    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Heartland_Institute_and_tobacco

  147. SLC

    Re Utakata @ #154

    Ed Braytons’ blog over at Scienceblogs would also have been a good place. The commentors over there take the gloves off when faced with rubbish like Mr. Spencers’ paper.

  148. Robin

    And we wonder why have the politicians that we do. If anyone needs answers to such wondering, simply read the responses here, the majority of which do nothing but ridicule, sling mud, name call, and etc. When I hear words like “libs” or “neocons” being thrown about, I know that reason isn’t going to be found.

    Phil, you stepped in it with this one. Scientifically, Spencer’s beliefs have nothing to do with validating or invalidating his paper, not one bit. Scientifically, such a refutation is worthless and outside the scope of scientific method. You should have addressed the paper on its own technical terms. When I read a paper, I read it and evaluate it on its own terms. I don’t do research into who may have contributed money toward the work done in that paper as part of my evaluation of that paper’s worth.

    Fortunately, the “debate” of climate change is sufficiently ugly and mean spirited that the effect of over 100 posts, on this page, is likely too small to be measured. The noise level on this page is sufficiently high to make it difficult to see if anything substantive occured.

  149. Penny Rimbaud

    Lonny Eachus wrote:
    “I am about done here. I feel compelled to go elsewhere, to where people claiming to be scientists actually discuss the science, rather than their own preconceptions and the reputations of others.”

    Let me remind you how many moons ago you shacked up with adam with a small a. He said he was a scientist but failed to give any credentials at all to back this up. You did not criticise him in any way for this fault.
    And as to preconceptions you have many of them, and not much in the way of evidence. And since you have a reputation as someone that ignores any evidence of the dodgey practices you use (such as straw manning) you really come across as a hypocrite.
    Please feel compelled to take your grubby little ball away from us skeptics and go sulk. We won’t miss you.

  150. Muzz

    @140. Ellen O’Day Says:

    1. The IPCC report states that AGW started in about 1976 when industrial activity reached a critical point for the creation of CO2. CO2 production and absorption were no longer in balance.

    Started in 1976? 1876 seems more like it.
    You’re going to have to cite that I think. If it’s real I suspect the quote is being misconstrued.

  151. There are these things called ‘hyperlinks’, which Phil has included in the OP.

    These ‘hyperlinks’, when selected by the reader, allow him or her to navigate to other webpages on the ‘Internet’. At least two of the links provided by Phil in the OP – one to Barry Bickmore’s blog, and the other to RealClimate – provide support to the conclusion that Spencer & Braswell 2011 is a rubbish paper.

    The Brickmore post brings to light serious flaws in the simple climate model which Spencer prefers to use to generate his data. This link is referred to in the LiveScience article to which Phil also links, as well as the ThinkProgress article to which Phil also links. Both of these articles suggest that in S&B2011 Spencer continues to use the simple model which Brickmore has found to be flawed.

    The RealClimate article is an actual deconstruction of S&B2011 itself.

    Neither Brickmore nor RealClimate refer to Spencer’s ideological leanings in the substantial points of their criticisms. It having been over a day since I have read the articles myself, I will gladly entertain the possibility that a criticism of Spencer’s ideology could be included in the main text of these articles, although such criticism, if it exists, is peripheral to the case against S&B2011.

    Given the above, any complaint of Phil failing to address the paper on its own merits is false, and by the time Phil linked to RealClimate in an update, is also likely to be dishonest. At the very least, the complainant has demonstrated an inability to read for comprehension or to make use of that great strength of the Web – hyperlinks.

  152. rbateman

    If you want unprecedented, have a look at Dr. Phil Jones CRU series in California’s Red Bluff, Redding, Santa Cruz, Livermore for the latter half of 1870’s. Not even the 1930’s was as bad as that, and nothing has come close since, as I’ve heard the firsthand horror stories from people who lived though it.
    Unprecedented drought went worldwide (both hemisphere’s), and crop failures from all over the place.
    We have had it good, this global warming plateau some are so afraid of.

  153. tmac57

    Even if the earth were not warming at the rates that the models predict,there is still this to worry about:
    http://www.pmel.noaa.gov/co2/file/Hawaii+Carbon+Dioxide+Time-Series

    You don’t really want to screw with the global ocean’s chemistry,do you?

  154. Geez Us

    Phil,

    Thanks for the write-up. I was about to write you about the article when I saw the post.

    I have always had reservations about climate change; primarily because of the data issues. I personally visited a few of the weather data collection stations a few years back, and was disappointed to see that half were either in disrepair or out of spec (too close to asphalt/air conditioners, etc). I am a firm believer in data. If data is corrupt, then the theories relying on said data should be suspect, too.

    So, I was eager to see such a thorough deconstruction of the article, supporting data, and background on the authors.

    I find myself often conflicted on this topic. I am a virulent support of evolution, teaching of SCIENCE in the classroom (not pseudo-science), etc. But the reality is there is a HUGE amount of money to be made on the climate change side of the fence (carbon credits…..). When there is a pot of money to be had, numbers can get fudged.

    I guess what I would like to see is a single place that explains the issue(s), shows the peer-reviewed data, highlights the biggest and most credible criticism (like bad data, climategate, etc), and refutes them in simple terms and citations. All of this would need NOT to be under an umbrella organization that stands to benefit from said pot of money.

    Anyone know of such a place?

    (I REALLY hate being wishy-washy on this topic. It is SCIENCE, therefore I should have a more firm opinion. Someone help me, please?)

  155. DonB

    Why did you drink the kool aid? Just when I thought you might stay in business you drink the damn kool aid. Bye bye Discover. Bye Bye SciAm. If only you’d stuck to science but NO you had to go get mixed up with faith healers. Too bad, too, too bad.

  156. Mike Franklin

    I knew if there was any one place on the web that could swelter the theory of climate change, it would be here.

    Bless this place for all its headlong determinism for there to be global warming! May the elves and gnomes of old guide you through until you reach your goal at the end of the fiery magic rainbow…. and we all drown as unmelted polar caps weep tears of joy at your arrival.

  157. I was surprised to find James Taylor involved with this. Because last time I checked he’d seen fire and he’d seen rain – and (this is the important part) sunny days that he thought would never end!

  158. Jeremy

    So, Bad Astronomer, the one who thought nothing of calling skeptics “deniers” in reference to the holocaust deniers, now gets upset when an article calls people who believe in CAGW “alarmists”

    Doesn’t feel so good when you’re the one being ad hominem attacked, does it? Maybe you should think about that the next time you refer to someone as a denier.

  159. Shunka Warakin

    DonB, Mike Franklin, and Jeremy, do you have some killer data that destroys AGW or are you merely full of warm gas?

  160. Shunka Warakin

    Lifelong Liberal (most likely misnamed) wrote

    “If a scientists opinions are suspect because he does not believe in anthromorphic climate change. Then we should not believe the scientists who DO believe in anthromorphic climate change either”

    Scientists who are against AGW aren’t disbelieved because they’re against AGW. But because 97% of scientists that study climate change have looked at the scientific evidence and it shows that AGW is the best theory to explain global warming. Your argument is naive and pretty much a straw man.

  161. John Sandlin

    There is no kool-aid on the AGW side of the party. If the general consensus of the participating experts is that it’s real, that is where you should put your money. The global temperature, the speed of ocean rise and rate of ice melt are all on the high end of the predictions error bars. Generally, the predictions are conservative and reality is proving that.

    At this point, denial is a pointless waste of time and resources. The drink the deniers are imbibing harms us all.

  162. tom s

    Discover mag is a rag. I used to enjoy this magazine but it has become so biased on a science in it’s infancy (climate) that I cannot take ANY of the articles seriously any longer. Into the trash heep with you.

  163. Daniel J. Andrews

    Maybe someone has already posted this–I’ve not time to check—but real climate has an article regarding Spencer’s latest.
    realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2011/07/misdiagnosis-of-surface-temperature-feedback/

    They outline where he made his mistakes. Some parts are a bit technical, but other parts are easily accessible to the intelligent lay reader.

    so biased on a science in it’s infancy (climate)

    tom…you do know aspects of climate science go back to Fourier in 1824 who used simple models to show the earth would be much colder without an atmosphere, John Tyndall (1859) who demonstrated CO2 absorbed heat (i.e. it was a greenhouse gas)? And Arrhenius calculated how much temperatures would rise or fall based on amount of CO2 taken or added to the atmosphere in 1900 (AGW predicted by pencil and paper calculations (i.e. models) over a 100 years ago).

    If climate science is in its infancy, so is evolution due to natural selection, germ theory, atomic theory, stellar evolution, genetics, and many of the other disciplines.

    It also depends on what part of climate science you think is in its infancy….physics? chemistry? geology?, oceanography? cryology? paleo-biology, -chronology, -botany, -geology? Perhaps remote sensing, right?

    Since you’re not reading Discover, you’ll now have time to read The Discovery of Global Warming by Spencer Weart which traces the history of an “infant” science. That way you’ll be less inclined to spout off standard denier memes that have been addressed who knows how many times now, and I won’t feel obligated to waste time posting a rebuttal for someone who hasn’t even made an effort to learn the slightest bit of science needed to know if he’s talking nonsense or not, and I’m pretty sure won’t actually read Weart’s excellent book but would rather stick with an uninformed comfortable opinion that conforms to his pre-existing ideology and/or beliefs. Prove me wrong, tom.

    For those who do like to know what they’re talking about though, here’s the link to the free book.
    aip.org/history/climate/index.htm

  164. tmac57

    Daniel J. Andrews- You can’t hear it,but I am giving you a standing ovation.Thank you.

  165. Utakata

    Good point SLC @ 156. :)

  166. @VinceRN @8: Mentioning this guys support of ID is not an ad hominem at all. It shows that he puts belief ahead of science and that is important in assessing his work.

    Seems you’ve embraced a belief in lefty politics, perhaps akin to Spencer’s belief on ID. As does his personal belief might influence his thoughts and approach to ‘pure’ science, have you absolutely no understanding that your (and your ilk’s) embrace of the politics of the Left has ruined your believability? You are ruined as a ‘pure’ scientist. You and your group of ‘alarmists’ trotted out Al Gore as spokesman for the ‘evils’ of AGW; Al Gore, a failed politician, not even a scientist, a guy with with a degree in religion, and you expect to change the entire economic system, not only of the U.S. but of the world, by embracing the politics of socialism and Marx?

    Seriously? Who can take your (or your Science!) seriously, now that you’ve gone Left?

  167. Peter Eldergill

    It would be nice to hear Phil respond once in a while in his own blog

    Pete

  168. Messier Tidy Upper

    This quote from page 106 ‘Carbon Detox’ (Octopus Publishing Group*, 2007) by George Marshall :

    *****

    ‘This graph, chart, table, piece of ‘research’, shows that carbon dioxide is not causing climate change’

    [Header in bold original, strike-through added to apply here – ed.]

    .. The problem is this : if something else is causing climate change, what is all of that carbon dioxide doing? No one denies that carbon dioxide is a powerful greenhouse gas that retains heat in the atmosphere. Any rival theory about climate change has to explain why 40 per cent [sic] more carbon dioxide is making no difference to world temperatures. And not a one of them can do this.”

    *****

    Sums things up very well in my view.

    * Far as I know, totally unrelated to PZ Meyers of ‘Pharngyula’ fame but if he was ever to want to publish something it’ d be an apt choce for him! ;-)

  169. Mundo Caliente

    Not one single refutation of Spencer Braswell SCIENCE in this thread. Pretty good reason to believe the satellite data are good and Spencer makes clear the models for heating are wrong.

    Question: What happens to all the climate researchers who need global warming to be true? Will they be happy to research natural variation? It’s still a living.

  170. @171. tom s :

    Discover mag is a rag. I used to enjoy this magazine but it has become so biased on a science in it’s infancy (climate) that I cannot take ANY of the articles seriously any longer. Into the trash heep with you.

    Really? :roll:

    Climatology is hardly in its “infancy” – see the links here in comments 130 & 133. Or what the wikipedia page for climatology notes :

    The earliest person to hypothesize the concept of climate change may have been the medieval Chinese scientist Shen Kuo (1031–95). Shen Kuo theorized that climates naturally shifted over an enormous span of time, after observing petrified bamboos found underground near Yanzhou (modern day Yan’an, Shaanxi province), a dry climate area unsuitable for the growth of bamboo. Early climate researchers include Edmund Halley, who published a map of the trade winds in 1686, after a voyage to the southern hemisphere.

    Click on my name here for the source – wikipedia climatology page.

    Oh & btw. yes, that *is* the same Halley of cometary fame too! ;-)

    Also Genetics for one example is a much more recent science. Do you dispute it’s findings too? Ditto robotics and quantum physics also younger than climatology.

    Also this is the BA’s first post on Global Warming in quite a while, most of his posts are about astronomy with a good smattering of Science Fiction related, anti-anti-vax, anti-conspiracy theory, Caturday and other stuff mixed in. Which most of us here think is a good thing.

    Do you really think the BA’s discussing of this major issue (which intersects with science generally and astronomy esp. in some facets eg. the “its sun spots to blame, Mars is warming too” canards among others.) makes his astronomy wrong on everything?

    Oh and computers tend not to fit in the trash too well! ;-)

  171. @112. Joshua Corning : “I do not mean to alarm you or anyone but the the image that you chose to accompany this article is of EARTH ON FIRE!!”

    Yup, that’d be all that flammable methane bubbling out of the Siberian permafrost and igniting all at once! ;-)

    [click on my name for a somewhat smaller scale demonstration of this.]

    (Or / And the methane coming from the clathrates frozen on arctic sea floor too.)

  172. J Bowers

    Well, CafeMom.com isn’t affiliated with Center for American Progress Action Fund as far as I can tell. It seems mum still knows best…

    “Some of you may have heard of a pack of paid shills called The Heartland Institute…
    […]
    Those of you who remember polynomial graphs from school will know that the more variables you’re allowed to change in an equation, the easier it is to make your equation fit closely to a set of data points. In fact, if you have the same number of variables as datapoints, you can always get an exact fit. This is why legitimate scientists, if they use regression analysis upon a bunch of data to come up with a curve that fits it, then carry out a confirmatory analysis using different data, to double check that the fit wasn’t just coincidence.

    Spencer, apparently, is fond of skipping this step. He specialises in taking the inputs he wants to be the cause of temperature records (for instance: cloud cover), then using lots and lots of free variables to combine these inputs to produce a a result that is something similar to what’s been observed.

  173. SLC

    Re Robin @ #157

    Phil, you stepped in it with this one. Scientifically, Spencer’s beliefs have nothing to do with validating or invalidating his paper, not one bit. Scientifically, such a refutation is worthless and outside the scope of scientific method.

    That’s a fine philosophy but, unfortunately, most folks don’t have the requisite scientific expertise to fisk a paper like Spencers’. Thus, as Prof. Bob Park has argued, they have to rely on the conclusions of those who do have the scientific expertise. Dr. Plait is, by his own admission, not an expert in climatology. He’s an expert in astrophysics.

    Thus, one must evaluate the credentials of those who profess to be experts, like Roy Spencer. In doing so, his scientific reputation comes into play. Thus, his views on evolutionary biology, which he has not the slightest expertise to pontificate on, are relevant in assessing that reputation. When a scientist propounds crackpot views on one scientific subject, this brings into question his views on other scientific subjects.

    A perfect example of someone whose crackpot views have destroyed his scientific reputation is Prof. Peter Duesberg of the Un. of California Medical School in San Francisco. At the start of his career in the 1960s, Prof. Duesberg was a researcher in field of ERVs, which had just been discovered. His seminal work in the field was of sufficient import to warrant his nomination for a Nobel Prize in Medicine at that time.

    Unfortunately, the good doctor became interested in the newly discovered AIDS syndrome in the early 1980s and expressed reservations as to whether the cause was the HIV virus, which is an ERV. Subsequently, his reservations turned into outright denial, even as the evidence piled up. His denial of the evidence has led to the destruction of his scientific reputation to the extent that the peer reviewed journals will no longer consider publishing anything he authors, even if it has nothing to do with HIV/AIDS.

    Mr./Ms. Robin will probably consider that to be unfair but peer reviewed journals have to assiduously consider their reputation when evaluating articles by known crackpots. Just consider the situation with the prestigious medical journal Lancet that published a paper by one Andrew Wakefield on what he claimed was a connection between the MMR vaccine and autism. The paper has subsequently be found to be not only wrong but fraudulent. The episode did nothing positive for the reputation of that journal.

  174. WetCoaster

    Sadly, “Climate Change” has become a religion to some, with two distinct variants. The “Deniers” claim nothing bad is happening, the “Alarmists” claim bad things are happening, and neither side can seem to understand the other sometimes has valid points. Both sides are played by larger economic forces, in ways that make them think they are in control, but in the end, it’s usually somebody far outside of then loop that’s getting them all wound up. It’s like two ant nests: Kick one over, and watch them fight.

    Somewhere in between the two churches are people who try to understand how the world works. They’re called scientists, and are under attack by the forces of the right AND the left. The autism article mentioned above is a good example. Even after it was proven to be misleading in the least, it had done the damage, and how many millions believe the falseness, and how many will suffer diseases they never needed to catch?
    Once an idea takes root, all the truth, data, arm waving and downright deception cannot shift it. Is it any surprise that both sides get caught using deceptive tactics? Some will always refuse to believe whatever data is shown to them, and will latch onto anything that supports their cause. What can be done to stop this? Nothing…people will choose to believe in the most amazingly stupid things, learn to live with it, or at least, try to more patient with them. We can’t all be as smart as you are. :)

  175. Dave

    The Article, this one, just shows that people don’t like it. And that there’s a bunch of them. Not one reason HOW it’s flawed. Achem. I’d like some evidence please.

  176. Commander Nemo

    Brave heart, Dr. Phil!

    This molehill of abuse and Political Science just shows who the denialists are afraid of!

  177. SLC

    Re Dave @ #185

    Dr. Plain linked to articles by people with expertise in the field of climate science. I fail to see what would be achieved by his including extensive quotes from those articles.

  178. Bentley Strange

    Perhaps you should read the paper before commenting on it, you very, very, obviously don’t understand what’s in it.

    And Trenberth’s comment really says it all….about Trenberth. He’s obviously far more concerned at his “teams” failure to rig the peer review system than being pleased that some HAS found the missing heat he was so concerned about previously.

    Finally, quoting a “Realclimate” post as refuting a peer reviewed paper, well, if anyone who posted there ever showed sufficient signs of intellectual honesty to stop censoring posts to make them say things that the original poster didn’t say, then it might be worth reading.

  179. Josh Reiter

    I guess one zealots prayer is another zealots curse. Global Warming takes a great deal of “faith” to accept that Earth’s climate is a positive feedback system that will runaway into a cataclysmic warming event based upon a little nudge from mankind. So, no surprise really that the Alarmist want to find salvation through taxation and altruistic flagellation of our civilization through stifling economic and energy regulations. To me it’s really no better than the catholic bishops purveying indulgences to the sinners or ancient Amun priests selling shabti dolls for Horus’ salvation. Funny how these so called progressives keep repeating the same failed crap from the dawn of human history.

  180. amphiox

    Global Warming takes a great deal of “faith” to accept that Earth’s climate is a positive feedback system that will runaway into a cataclysmic warming event based upon a little nudge from mankind.

    If by “faith” you mean “mountains of evidence”, and by “cataclysmic” you mean “just enough disruption to seriously degrade the ability for human beings to survive with a reasonably quality of life”, and by “little nudge” you mean “sustained activity equivalent to a medium-sized but continuous volcanic eruption”, then your statement would be a little bit closer to reality.

  181. Robert Freiler

    I’m just a layman, but I like to think I have at least a modicum of common sense. I’m not a complete climate change denier, but I have my reservations on the human cause factor because I think your own beliefs disprove your theories. All you big science brains believe the Earth is billions of years old. You believe that there have been, what, 3, 5, 10 (more?) Ice ages? Considering every Ice Age had to have been preceded by a period of warming, and every Ice Age precedes the dawn of man, how do you justify it this time? It just seems to make you all look like you have tunnel vision.

  182. Robert:

    All the big science brains conclude, on the basis of the available evidence, that the Earth is billions of years old (4.7 billion, more or less).

    All the big science brains conclude, on the basis of the available evidence, that the Earth has been in a continuous Ice Age (time period in which some part of the Earth is permanently covered in ice) during recent paleohistory, in which there have been several glacial periods (during which ice sheets have advanced to cover large parts of the Northern Hemisphere), punctuated by stable interglacial periods.

    Based on the available evidence, the interglacial periods have relatively stable climates (with some exceptions, such as the PETM), while the descent into glacial periods, the glacial periods themselves, and the warming leading up to the interglacial periods have seen relatively unstable climate shifts.

    Based on the available evidence, the glacial/interglacial cycles occur due to shifts in the Earth’s orbit (the Milankovitch cycles), which engage a greenhouse gas feedback loop to allow the large-scale shifts involved (in the range of 5-6 K changes in global mean temperature up or down depending on the direction of the cycle).

    Based on the available evidence, humans have increased the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide (proven by John Tyndall via laboratory experiment to be a greenhouse gas) by approximately 40% from pre-industrial times due to the extraction and combustion of fossil fuels. This has broken the normal cycle of Milankovitch/solar forcing and greenhouse feedback, creating a greenhouse gas forcing.

    All this is summarized on sites like Wikipedia (from which you can review the literature chosen by the Wikipedia editors as references) or Skeptical Science. In addition, a very useful history of the advances in climatology since Tyndall & Arhennius, by Spencer Weart, is freely available online. I heartily recommend you read all of these and understand why scientists “justify it this time.”

  183. Skeptic

    I just wanted to point out that your article keeps saying it will get to the actual facts in the paper but never does. The bottom line is: Is Spencer’s data about more heat escaping the planet true, and if it is how does it effect the current climate models?

  184. Robin

    @SLC, #182:

    No, there is no need to consider Spencer’s credentials when looking at his paper. As has been demonstrated in other papers and proofs by other scientists, Spencer’s paper fails on its technical merits.

    So, because “most folks don’t have the requisite scientific expertise to fisk a paper like Spencers’”, we’re supposed to resort to the same methods of those decrying AGW? How exactly does that help us? How does that establish any credibility at all with the public at large? I say, it doesn’t help us one bit.

    For the record, mine’s not a philosophy. It’s a position to which I hold firm.

    Mr./Ms. Robin really wonders what such third party address are supposed to achieve. After all, whether it’s “Mr. Robin”, “Ms. Robin”, “M. Robin”, “Mme. Robin”, or “Mrs. Robin” has no bearing on any discussion at hand. “Robin” is quite sufficient and is what most people would likely have chosen to use in a response. It is after all, the name attached to the comments I make. I believe it is common practice for others to address other commenters using those commenters’ names as given for their posts.

  185. Scott

    I see a lot of comments from people here who don’t think it’s appropriate to consider Roy Spencer’s past blunders nor his beliefs in Intelligent Design. Let me ask those who make such statements if the reputation and affiliations of someone offering you medical advice would matter to you? Suppose every time the doctor you were seeing operated on someone they died? Would you allow that doctor to operate on you?

    At some point the reputation of a man disqualifies him from even entering a conversation like this. Roy Spencer has proven time and time again that he is someone that no one should take his “science” seriously for a moment.

  186. JadedIdealist

    @SLC Goddamit Lynne Margulis was one of my heroes, and you’ve made me look up what she’s been doing since discovering the endosymbiotic origin of eukariotic cells. Meanie. Sigh.
    Oh well, just goes to show it can happen to anybody.
    Caterpillars are land living Caddis-fly larvae (complete with cocoon making), and butterflies and moths are Caddis flies with coloured scales instead of plain ones – . She seems to be taking good ideas – symbiosis and hybridisation and shoe horning them in everywhere – not taking into account that the world had already swung to her side so people wern’t going to be dissing her ideas just because she was a girl anymore.

  187. Nigel Depledge

    The BA said:

    I was also surprised to find Spencer is a big supporter of Intelligent Design. I was initially reticent to mention that, since it seems like an ad hominem. But I think it’s relevant: Intelligent Design has been shown repeatedly to be wrong, and is really just warmed-over creationism. Heck, even a conservative judge ruled it to be so in the now-famous Dover lawsuit. Anyone who dumps all of biological science in favor of provably wrong antiscience should raise alarm bells in your head, and their claims should be examined with an even more skeptical eye.

    Erm, yeah, it most certainly does look like an ad hominem.

    But at least you are not dumping his whole argument because of his stance on ID. I don’t think it really counts as an ad hominem argument if you use his other ideas as a flag to give anything else he says extra scrutiny.

    It’s too bad, really. I’m not a fan of ad hominems, but the recent attacks on the science of climate change, evolution, and the Big Bang by the far right — and on medicine by the far left — make it necessary to know more about the authors when reading articles. If you simply accept what they say without doing due diligence, you may be led down a road that leads well away from reality.

    Yes, given that so many anti-science authors seem quite happy to publish a pack of lies rather than make an honest argument and honestly address issues with their arguments, I wholly agree with this.

  188. Nigel Depledge

    Robert Freiler (191) said:

    I’m just a layman, but I like to think I have at least a modicum of common sense.

    And what makes you think that commen sense is relevant in climatology?

    I’m not a complete climate change denier, but I have my reservations on the human cause factor because I think your own beliefs disprove your theories. All you big science brains believe the Earth is billions of years old. You believe that there have been, what, 3, 5, 10 (more?) Ice ages? Considering every Ice Age had to have been preceded by a period of warming, and every Ice Age precedes the dawn of man, how do you justify it this time?

    First of all, this makes no sense. Who claims that each ice age is preceded by a warming period? Who has claimed that all ice ages precede the “dawn of man”? What the hell is this “dawn of man” to which you refer?

    Homo sapiens has existed for at least 200,000 years, during which time there have been several ice ages. But human civilisations have existed for perhaps only 10,000 years (depending on exactly how you define “civilisation”), which (IIUC) roughly coincides with the end of the last ice age.

    Second, this is definitely an argument ad hominem. If you are unqualified to judge the argument on its merits (or, because of the smoke-screen set up by the lapdogs of Big Oil, if you feel unable to work out who is right), you should accept the consensus of experts, which is most readily accessible as the IPCC reports (even though these have their flaws). You should certainly not judge one field of science based on your opinions of other fields of science. The people and the analyses employed will largely be different.

    Third, you claim that scientists “believe” the Earth to be billions of years old as if this were some negative thing. As far as anyone can tell (anyone who conducts an honest assessment of the evidence, at least), the Earth really is several billion years old (about 4.6 – 4.7 billion years old). This is not some fantasy, nor some hypothesis, but a sound conclusion based on evidence and logic. Some of the rocks still accessible on Earth’s surface are 3.8 billion years old. This has been measured, so that sets a minimum age for the Earth.

    It just seems to make you all look like you have tunnel vision.

    To whom? To people who reject science? How can any scientist convince someone who has chosen to reject physical evidence as a basis for assessing the validity of an idea?

  189. SLC

    Re Robin @ #193

    Well, I am afraid that Mr./Ms. Robin and I are going to have to agree to disagree, hopefully not disagreeably, as to whether Mr. Spencers’ crackpot views on evolution should be a consideration in assessing his reliability on the subject of climate change. I readily admit to not having the expertise to evaluate the paper in question and therefore am relying on the evaluations of those who have such expertise. These critics are not known to have crackpot views on other scientific subjects, thus, IMHO, making them a more reliable source of information then Mr. Spencer.

    This is in line with what Martin Gardner said in his seminal work on pseudoscience in reference to Wilhelm Reich, namely that someone who holds crackpot views in one branch of science may well hold crackpot views in other branches of science.

    The same holds true for some other climate change deniers, such as Prof. Fred Singer. Prof. Singer is also a cigarette smoking/lung cancer denier and a CFC/ozone depletion denier, thus, IMHO, calling into question anything he says about climate change (by the way, climate change critic Richard Lindzen is also a cigarette smoking/lung cancer denier).

  190. Bob

    That journal, “remote sensing” is a vanity journal – you have to pay them to be published.

  191. Nigel Depledge

    @ Bob (197) –
    Bob, that’s not unusual even in prestigious science journals. Subscription fees alone do not keep a journal afloat and publishing. Many’s the good-quality paper I have read that was obliged to carry the tag “advertisement” because the journal charged a page fee.

  192. Xenethanes

    From Skeptical Science:
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/clouds-negative-feedback.htm

    [Proposition:] Clouds provide negative feedback
    “Climate models used by the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assume that clouds provide a large positive feedback, greatly amplifying the small warming effect of increasing CO2 content in air. Clouds have made fools of climate modelers. A detailed analysis of cloud behavior from satellite data by Dr. Roy Spencer of the University of Alabama in Huntsville shows that clouds actually provide a strong negative feedback, the opposite of that assumed by the climate modelers. The modelers confused cause and effect, thereby getting the feedback in the wrong direction.” (Ken Gregory*)
    ….
    [Response]
    Dessler (2010)** used cloud measurements over the entire planet by the Clouds and the Earth’s Radiant Energy System (CERES) satellite instruments from March 2000 to February 2010 to attempt to determine the cloud feedback. Dessler concluded that although a very small negative feedback (cooling) could not be ruled out, the overall short-term global cloud feedback is probably positive (warming), and may be strongly positive. His measurements showed that it is very unlikely that the cloud feedback will cause enough cooling to offset a significant amount of human-caused global warming.

    So while clouds remain a significant uncertainty and more research is needed on this subject, the evidence is building that clouds will probably cause the planet to warm even further, and are very unlikely to offset a significant amount of human-caused global warming. It’s also important to remember that there many other feedbacks besides clouds, and there is a large amount of evidence that the net feedback is positive and will amplify global warming.

    * http://www.friendsofscience.org/assets/documents/Clouds_Climate.pdf
    ** http://geotest.tamu.edu/userfiles/216/dessler10b.pdf

  193. olimp

    „That seems pretty clear: if true…”

    No. There was no “if true” statement, explicit or implicit. It’s that simple: it means we may are not heating up as much as some scientists predicted.

  194. Steve Metzler

    #204 olimp sums up the contrarian viewpoint rather nicely there. Now, if only I could figure out what the heck that was supposed to mean…

  195. deepelemblues

    “and climate scientists say the paper on which it’s based is fundamentally flawed and flat-out wrong.”

    No one believes climate scientists anymore.

    You, either.

    Too bad.

    What’s funny is apparently all of the charlatans at Real Climate and elsewhere simply weren’t around for the peer-review of his work, always funny when the work is declared “nonsense” by “scientists” who have a reason to speak so, AFTER it has been peer-reviewed and published.

    What a bunch of clowns, here, at Real Climate, and at Think Progress. You’re never going to get your policy preferences made reality, deal with it you contemptuous stuck up losers.

  196. Messier Tidy Upper

    @206. deepelemblues :

    “No one believes climate scientists anymore.

    That assertion is provably false.

    I am one counter-argument to it because I like millions of others *DO*, indeed, believe the climatologists when they warn us we have a problem based on massive amounts of evidence and thousands of studies by experts who know what they’re talking about having spent years of their lives investigating and learning about their field.

    Then there are surveys like this one :

    http://www.abc.net.au/lateline/content/2011/s3167104.htm

    saying :

    Australia’s peak science body, the CSIRO, conducted the nation’s largest survey on climate change views before last year’s federal election, [2010 August 21st – ed.] and while more than 90 per cent of Australians believe the climate is changing, 50 per cent believe it’s because of human carbon pollution, while 40 per cent believe it’s natural variability and has nothing to do with humans. Just six per cent deny any climate change at all. [Emphasis added.]

    While that talks about us here in Oz rather than the United States this survey :

    http://pewresearch.org/pubs/1427/global-warming-major-problem-around-world-americans-less-concerned

    shows that :

    The survey, conducted May 18 to June 16, also reveals that majorities in 23 of 25 countries agree that protecting the environment should be given priority, even at the cost of slower economic growth and job losses. And many are willing to make sacrifices, such as having to pay higher prices, to address global warming. Concern about climate change is much less pervasive in the United States, China and Russia than among other leading nations. Just 44% in the U.S. and Russia, and even fewer in China (30%), consider global warming to be a very serious problem. By comparison, 68% in France, 65% in Japan, 61% in Spain and 60% in Germany say that is the case. [Emphasis added.]

    That’s not “no one” -not even nobody in the USA Even if more Americans now do not accept the scientific consensus on the existence of Human Caused Global Overheating 44% of people is a looo-ong way from nobody.

    Also even if you were correct that “no one” (or very few to use a less hyperbolic, perhaps more reasonable term) ..

    .. “believes” (it isn’t a matter of faith – it’s scientific evidence we’re talking about here) ..

    “climate scientists anymore.”

    It wouldn’t make them wrong because the evidence :

    http://climate.nasa.gov/evidence/

    is on their side which is what is most important in science.

    Also, your argument here is intrinsicallyself-defeating – who do you think Roy Spencer is? Oh yeah a climate scientist! See your problem there? ;-)

    You, [meaning the Bad Astronomer, Dr Phil Plait, I presume.] either.

    Again, that’s simply and demonstrably false.

    I, for one, am almost always prepapred to beleive the BA when he says something here unless I have some strong reason to think he is mistaken or joking – neither being the case in this matter. I am confident that the vast majority of commenters here would concur with me there.

    What a bunch of clowns, here, at Real Climate, and at Think Progress. You’re never going to get your policy preferences made reality, deal with it you contemptuous stuck up losers.

    Insults especially absurd ones like yours rarely help your case – and ‘never’ is an extremely long time. ;-)

    Unfortunately, you may be right that policies to mitigate and prevent worse Global Overheating will not be put in place for many years until the damage is so undeniable that (nearly) everybody insists something be done. Problem is the later we leave it to deal with Global Overheating, the harder it will be to mitigate and the more drastic the necessary measures will become.

  197. SLC

    Re deepelemblues @ #206

    Gee, another shill for the Koch brothers.

    Re Jadedidealist @ #195

    It’s much worse then that. Prof. Margulis is now and HIV/AIDS denier and a 9/11 truther, in addition to apparently palling around with Holocaust deniers (despite being Jewish herself). A sad ending for a once productive scientist. Unfortunately, she’s in some illustrious company, including Linus Pauling (vitamin C and cancer), J. Allen Hynek (alien abductions), William Shockley (racial inferiority), Brian Josephson (cold fusion, ESP, and PK), and Peter Duesberg (HIV/AIDS denial).

  198. Messier Tidy Upper

    Problem is the later we leave it to deal with Global Overheating, the harder it will be to mitigate and the more drastic the necessary measures will become.

    Oh & also the longer we leave it the greater than damage and suffering and losses caused by it will be. Does that matter to you at all, deepelemblues? :-(

    I’d recommend this book :

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Six_Degrees:_Our_Future_on_a_Hotter_Planet

    as one good and highly readable source for why we have cause for concern.

    Oh and folks :

    Above all, remember the history of the tobacco industry. Forty years on and millions of premature deaths later, the misinformation campaign has failed. No smoker holds any hope that the science is unsettled or that smoking does not cause cancer. Misinformation campaigns that serve vested interests always lose in the end, but we will need to win this one a lot faster.

    Source : page 108, ‘Carbon Detox’, George Marshall, Octopus Publishing Group, 2007.

    Quoted for truth here.

    @208. SLC :

    Unfortunately, she’s in some illustrious company, including …

    The one’s that greive me most are the former Apollo astronauts Harrison Schmitt (Climate Contrarian) :

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2011/02/08/moon-walker-climate-change-denier/

    and Ed Mitchell (New age loopiness & flying saucers) :

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2009/04/22/edgar-mitchell-is-at-it-again-yawn/

    It really sucks seeing good people and good scientists go off the road like those you and I have mentioned. :-(

  199. gzuckier

    Basically, the schlemiels who insist that global warming theory is bogus because it’s all based only on models, now find overwhelming evidence that it is bogus., based only on the results of Spencer’s modeling.

  200. Andreas H

    I just find it very unfortunate, that the whole discussion is on such a “grand scale level”. Even without the global warming background most actions proposed would make a lot of sense by themselves. Green Energy, less exhaust emissions on cars, saving the rain forrest and so on would all be reasonable and good causes without the global warming threat.

    But now it’s all about global warming an even if the proposed actions make sense on many other levels it gives fundamentalists a buzz word they can attack and discredit.

    It’s obviously not the fault of the scientists, they have to release their research. But the politics got it all wrong. Instead of building up that grand scale problem and proposing grand scale solutions they should have tackled small issues and backed them up with lots of arguments (global warming being only a small part of it). This way we would actually do stuff instead of discussing with fundamentalist nutjobs about whether or not something quite obvious is happening.

  201. Nigel Depledge

    Truth Detecter (138) said:

    “It’s clear after reading just a few words that this article is hugely biased. The use of the word “alarmist” and its variants appeared no fewer than 14 times…” Interesting – using the word “alarmist” is clearly biased, but using the word “denier” is just…neutral…no bias shown…if that happens to correspond with your bias.

    The BA is quite correct.

    What you fail to notice is that the weight of evidence indicates only one conclusion – that AGW is a serious issue that will substantially impact on our societies if we don’t do something about it.

    Thus, to term this viewpoint “alarmist” is indeed merely rhetoric, because the issue is real.

    OTOH, to deny that it is a real issue is to ignore the weight of evidence, which is irrational. And thus the term “denier” is appropriate for a person who does this. “Sceptic” is not an appropriate term for a person who denies the significance of AGW, because a scpetic is open to persuasion by evidence, whereas a denier is not.

  202. Gunnar

    How many of you AGW “deniers” would dismiss out of hand that something was a significant cause of cancer if 97% of the world’s leading oncologists (cancer experts) agreed that it was? How is it any less stupid to dismiss out of hand AGW that 97% of the world’s leading climate scientists agree is a real and growing problem? Besides, as has been so often pointed out, there are very good and compelling reasons to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and improve our energy efficiency and resource conservation even if AGW really were some kind of hoax or delusion (which I am increasingly convinced that it is not).

  203. SLC

    Re Gunnar @ #213

    But that was indeed the case when the first Surgeon Generals’ report came out. The tobacco companies initiated a number of astroturf outfits, like the Heartland Institute, to blow smoke on the issue. The energy companies, e.g. the Koch brothers, are just taking a page out of the tobacco companies’ playbook by funding the Mercatus Institute and the George Marshall Institute to spread the same kind of smoke.

    By the way, it is a crying shame that a phoney outfit like the George Marshall Institute is using the name of one of the greatest Americans of the 20th Century, taking advantage of the fact that he is not around to object.

  204. Eimear

    That article is pathetic Phil, your helping to usher in a new dark age in science.

    Why is the scientific method being ignored, everything should be questioned.

  205. Steve Metzler

    #215 Eimear Says:

    That article is pathetic Phil, your helping to usher in a new dark age in science.

    Dang! There goes another irony meter :-(

    How come scientists in all other disciplines get most things right, but even after thousands of peer reviewed papers on climate change, those *stoopid* climatologists have it *all wrong*? ZOMG! Wait, I know! Could it be that folks like yourself are holding out for selfish reasons, just like they did for the tobacco companies, SO2 and NO2 (acid rain) and CFC (ozone depletion) polluters?

    Because, you know, there’s just so much easy money to be made if you don’t have to worry about the downline consequences of killing people, or making our biosphere inhabitable.

    Eimear: another proud, probably unwitting, member of the Noise Machine™.

    ETA: by the way, it’s “you’re helping”, not “your…”.

  206. Undeniable

    Nigel Depledge Says @ 212:

    “Sceptic” is not an appropriate term for a person who denies the significance of AGW, because a scpetic[sic] is open to persuasion by evidence, whereas a denier is not.

    Do you think that “denier” is an “appropriate” term for those who are sceptical of AGW but open to persuasion by evidence? People who are sceptical of AGW are (on average) not “ignoring” the “weight of evidence”, they are questioning it. This is called scepticism.

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: The term “denier” is factually incorrect, counter-productive and offensive.

  207. A side issue: Phil referred to “the recent attacks on the science of climate change, evolution, and the Big Bang by the far right — and on medicine by the far left”.

    Perhaps surprisingly, a prominent theme for “far right” sites like Newsmax and Patriot Update is distrust of Big Pharma and the medical profession. They frequently pitch for products and “natural cures” that doctors and the drug industry “don’t want you to know about”.

    It appears that even on the right, there’s money to be made in playing on resentments against large corporations and certain kinds of authority figures.

  208. Steve Metzler

    #219 Undeniable Says:

    Do you think that “denier” is an “appropriate” term for those who are sceptical of AGW but open to persuasion by evidence?

    Yes, because even though you say that you are open to persuasion by evidence, when push comes to shove, people who deny the reality of AGW keep moving the goalposts. With climate change, the signal/noise ratio is very small. But you can see the temps since pre-industrial times going inexorably upwards. It would seem that 95% confidence levels just aren’t good enough though, huh? That means there’s only a 1/20 chance that the observed warming has a ‘natural’ cause.

    OK, I’ll bite: what evidence (that we don’t already have in the peer reviewed literature) would convince you that the globe is warming at an unprecedented rate and that mankind is the primary cause of that warming?

  209. anon66

    Roy Spencer has a checkered reputation, but citing ThinkProgress – much of whose “reporting” would be laughable if people like Phil didn’t listen to it – does not help to break down Spencer’s paper.

    Phil, I love your work and have for years – but if you’re uncritically accepting ThinkProgress conclusions…I’ve got an image of George Soros on my shower curtain for you!

  210. Heather

    So are you saying this data does not show that earth is radiating more heat then the climate change models predict it should? This is NASA data isn’t it?

    Either data shows the heat escaping or it doesn’t. Either the amount of heat that is escaping conforms to the global climate change model or it doesn’t.

    I do not see anywhere in this article where it says that the amount of heat the satillites detect escaping actually matchs what the global climate change model predicts!

    Why is it this entire article is an attack on the man, with nothing that actually address the data involved? Why doesn’t the author address the actual data?

    Again, either the satillites data shows that the amount of heat radiating out into space matchs what the global climate change model predicts or it does not.

    I find it very odd that the data is not addressed and instead this is just an attack on the man who wrote the paper.

  211. Nigel Depledge

    Undeniable (219) said:

    Do you think that “denier” is an “appropriate” term for those who are sceptical of AGW but open to persuasion by evidence?

    First, apologies for the typo. I did not spot it until after the edit period had expired.

    Second, all people who are open to persuasion by the evidence have been persuaded by the evidence that AGW is real. So, all of the true sceptics have been convinced by the weight of evidence that AGW is real.

    Therefore, anyone who questions the reality of AGW and calls themselves a sceptic is either:
    1. Deluded, or
    2. Lying.

    Doubt over the reality of AGW is no longer a rational position. Therefore, anyone who continues to doubt AGW is either a denier (i.e. someone who is aware of the evidence but denies that it means what nearly all of the experts say it means) or has been duped by the deniers.

    People who are sceptical of AGW are (on average) not “ignoring” the “weight of evidence”, they are questioning it. This is called scepticism.

    Rubbish!

    Since about the mid-1990s, the weight of evidence was convincing. AGW is a real phenomenon. What remains now is to fill in the details, refine our understanding of the phenomenon, and work out what are the most productive things we can do to preserve our present civilisation. To continue to doubt AGW is no longer rational.

    Twenty years ago, your comment would have had merit.

    Now it does not. Being “sceptical” of AGW is simply an attempt to put window-dressing on outright denialism. There is no longer any reasonable doubt that AGW is real.

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: The term “denier” is factually incorrect, counter-productive and offensive.

    It is factually correct, because it precisely describes what the Big Oil shills and their dupes are doing. Whether it is productive or not remains open as far as I can tell. If it offends you, then stop denying that the overwhelming preponderance of evidence signifies a real phenomenon. Stop pretending that we might not have to do anything about AGW after all. And stop pretending that the climatologists are motivated by something other than genuine concern.

    [BTW, this last is addressed not so much to you specifically, but to all AGW deniers.]

  212. Nigel Depledge

    Heather (224) said:

    So are you saying this data does not show that earth is radiating more heat then the climate change models predict it should? This is NASA data isn’t it?

    Either data shows the heat escaping or it doesn’t. Either the amount of heat that is escaping conforms to the global climate change model or it doesn’t.

    I do not see anywhere in this article where it says that the amount of heat the satillites detect escaping actually matchs what the global climate change model predicts!

    Why is it this entire article is an attack on the man, with nothing that actually address the data involved? Why doesn’t the author address the actual data?

    Again, either the satillites data shows that the amount of heat radiating out into space matchs what the global climate change model predicts or it does not.

    I find it very odd that the data is not addressed and instead this is just an attack on the man who wrote the paper.

    This is typical of the deniers.

    First, there are many climate change models, not one. What if the NASA data match some of the models but not others? How do you draw a firm conclusion from that?

    Second, you may or may not have realised that Phil is an astronomer, not a climatologist. The statistics of climate data are something into which I daren’t venture, and I suspect the same applies to many other scientists who are not climatologists. What we do know for sure is that Spencer has embraced anti-science in his support fro ID. We also know that he is being payed by big oil companies. We also know that the climate data should be left for the experts to analyse, and we should trust their conclusions.

    Third, you whine about an article like this that highlights the affiliations of an AGW denier, but I’m sure you’ll lap up any attempt to discredit real clmatologists. Look at all the fuss made a year or so ago over those stolen emails.

    If you don’t trust the conclusions of nearly all the world’s climatologists, then your only recourse is to become a climatologist yourself so that you can assess for yourself both the data and the analytical methods used. I hope, if this is the case, that you are better at maths than I am.

  213. Jeanne

    Did I miss something or was the article in question indeed identified as an op-ed piece? That’s exactly the place for someone’s “slant,” I think.

  214. BobC

    bigjohn756 Says (@30):
    “Suppose that the atmosphere really is releasing more heat to space than predicted. Doesn’t that mean, based on the temperature data to date, that warming is actually worse than previously thought?”

    That’s right bigjohn — you can also make your house warmer in the winter by opening the front door and releasing more heat into the outdoors!

    Perhaps you meant that “the warming would be worse than previously thought, if this heat loss weren’t taking place”?

    Then it is also true that “future warming will be less than predicted, because the models are underestimating the atmosphere’s heat loss rates”.

    I think the take-away here for Spencer (and me) is that, since the models are underestimating this heat release, they are also overestimating future warming. Since the only crisis in climate science is a predicted one, data that informs us about the predictive skill of the models is very relevent.

  215. John

    So if you’re not a fan of ad hominens, why is this entire blog post an ad hominem?
    You pretty much spend the entire time attacking the man, rather than his arguments. So what if he has some ties to Exxon? Someone on the right could just as easily point out Al Gore’s substantial financial investment in green energy that would pay off if we adopted cap and trade.
    I’m not even saying I disagree with you. Just that the debate would be better served if both sides could refrain from this kind of thing. But that’s probably just wishful thinking…

  216. Steve Metzler

    #229 BobC Says:

    I think the take-away here for Spencer (and me) is that, since the models are underestimating this heat release, they are also overestimating future warming. Since the only crisis in climate science is a predicted one, data that informs us about the predictive skill of the models is very relevent.

    All GCMs are not equal. Climate is a complex beast of a thing to simulate, and some GCMs focus on one set of climate-related parameters, and some on others. If you had taken the time to read the critique of Spencer and Braswell’s paper over at Real Climate (Phil linked to it prominently), you would see that Spencer deliberately chose models that weren’t very good at taking ENSO into account to compare his own overly-simplistic model to.

    Also, the 10-year time-span that Spencer cherry picked for his analysis is hardly indicative of climate. Far too short to determine anything meaningful. But Spencer has a vested interest in the satellite data, and so repeatedly places all his eggs in that roughly 30-year old basket.

    Trenberth and Fasullo sum the paper up thusly:

    Most of what goes on in the real world of significance that causes the relationship in the paper is ENSO. We have already rebutted Lindzen’s work on exactly this point. The clouds respond to ENSO, not the other way round…

  217. Gunnar

    Re SLC @ #214

    “But that was indeed the case when the first Surgeon Generals’ report came out. The tobacco companies initiated a number of astroturf outfits, like the Heartland Institute, to blow smoke on the issue. The energy companies, e.g. the Koch brothers, are just taking a page out of the tobacco companies’ playbook by funding the Mercatus Institute and the George Marshall Institute to spread the same kind of smoke.”

    Yes, I realize that. It was stupid then, and just as stupid now. That is what I wish AGW deniers would realize and acknowledge.

    “By the way, it is a crying shame that a phoney outfit like the George Marshall Institute is using the name of one of the greatest Americans of the 20th Century, taking advantage of the fact that he is not around to object.

    I couldn’t agree with you more on that point! :-)

  218. Gunnar

    AGW deniers cannot honestly deny that at least 97% of the world’s climatologists claim that AGW is abundantly supported by the so far available evidence, nor can they honestly deny that the small minority of scientists with relevant expertise in that area who still deny AGW is steadily shrinking. So why can they not see how stupid it is to continue to so vociferously deny the possibility or even the probability that AGW is real and problematic?

    My guess is that at least some of them benefit (or think they benefit) from the status quo and figure that the real problems and disasters that AGW could, and probably will cause, will not occur until they are safely in their graves where they cannot be in any way inconvenienced by them.

  219. Jason

    I’ve followed countless threads like these over the last few years and one thing I’ve noticed is that passionate AGW proponents frequently utilize the same tactics:

    1) Bombarding the thread with countless posts all saying basically the same thing, with the intention of overwhelming any possible counter voice with the weight of numbers
    2) Repeating over and over again that the science is settled, that the evidence is overwhelming, that nobody in their right mind would possibly disagree, that anyone who does disagree must be either mentally ill or a shill for some corporate right wing cause
    3) Constant appeals to the power of consensus and the insinuation that the counter-consensus is so small as to be negligible and laughable.
    4) Claiming that skeptic scientists are all frauds and charlatans, when in fact there are many highly respected scientists who have extremely valid objections to the models, the methodology and the data in question
    5) Casting aside any question that academia itself is a culture and a mindset that is prone and subject to ideological bias and emotional influence, and that academia is a hotbed of left wing and anticapitalist bias, that climate science represents perhaps the most persuasive and dramatic platform on which to call for the very economic and social change that leftists have been calling for since long before AGW even became an issue.
    6) Either ignoring all legitimate scientific objections to AGW, or sweeping them aside by swiftly pointing out that those who agree with AGW have themselves pooh-poohed the objections (and thus appealing to the power of consensus again).

    And of course “deniers” are frequently portrayed as “dangerous.” At the very least their views are tactically equated with such quackery as homeopathy, and these talking points make the rounds very quickly, via widespread articles titled “how to talk to a climate change denier” etc.

    I’m not a scientist, but I like to think that I’m fair, objective and honest – as well as being intelligent enough to follow the gist of a scientific argument. And I have followed both sides of the argument. I do not believe that the loudest proponents of AGW are being entirely fair or objective at all. I also do not believe that they expose themselves to both sides of the debate – they have their viewpoint, set in stone, and expose themselves only to articles and sites written and maintained by people on “their side.” If there’s any debunking of skeptic claims to be done, they’ll get those talking points from those same pre-approved sites. For every piece of “irrefutable evidence” that they cite as “irrefutable proof” that the science is settled, they ignore the almost constant stream of revelations and findings which cast doubt on many of those claims. Dare to bring any of it up, and they’ll waste no time in letting you know that the source is some right wing hooey or other who can’t be trusted. Meanwhile scientists with distinctly socialist and anticapitalist views have nothing but pure, objective, scientific motives and are to be completely trusted in their findings and their conclusions.

    I have over the years taken the viewpoint that the climate is indeed changing, but also that there is and never has been any such thing as a “default” climate for Earth, that it constantly changes and that any attempt to stabilize it represents a preposterous waste of wealth. I also believe that humanity is better off channeling its wealth and resources into adapting to climate change rather than trying to stop it. Adaptation requires great material wealth, and capitalism has undeniably been the greatest source of material wealth in human history. And more people die every year of poverty than will die of climate change in even the most dire predictions. The poor are, of course, more at risk from climate change than the wealthy. The cause of their poverty is a lack of freedom, democracy and capitalism. They deserve access to the same engines of wealth that have improved our Western lives to such a dramatic extent, that have more than doubled our life expectancy in less than 200 years.

  220. Messier Tidy Upper

    @219. Undeniable :

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: The term “denier” is factually incorrect, ..

    Debateable – at best.

    If someone is denying the reality of physics which is that carbon dioxide does trap heat and the reality of recorded history and observed climatology that human carbon dioxide emissions *are* responsible for a certain level of Global Over-heating and will be responsible for more global overheating as they continue to rise then they’re the one’s being factually incorrect.

    I suppose you can theoretically argue that “climate change deniers” usually aren’t denying the idea that the climate changes (although perhaps some do) or that humans are at least one factor currently causing that (although many I think do) but rather are challenging only the most extreme catastrophist ideas regarding it and arguing that the economic & political costs of acting to mitigate it are worse than the problem – but I really don’t think that idea flies too well or applies to too many of those Climate Contrarians who are commonly given the d-label.

    … counter-productive and offensive.

    Perhaps.

    That’s why I prefer to use the term ‘Climate Contrarians’ rather than “denier” personally.

    There is an association with the term “holocaust denier” with the latter here which, I think, is best avoided.

  221. Nigel Depledge

    @ MTU (235) –
    Maybe you have a point there, but I have seen too many claims aong the lines of:
    1. GW is a fiction; or
    2. GW is perfectly natural and won’t be a problem; or
    3. GW is happening and might be a problem, but we didn’t cause it so why should we give up our SUVs anyway?

    So, I try to make sure that I specify AGW (anthropogenic global warming) as opposed to climate change or simple GW, and anyone who argues against this does IMO deserve the label “denier”. AFAICT, that AGW is a real phenomenon is settled. To deny this is irrational.

  222. jerry

    Ignore the alarmists and the deniers, then go about your daily lives and enjoy them. Everyone is wrong anyways.

  223. Nigel Depledge

    Jason (235) said:

    I’ve followed countless threads like these over the last few years and one thing I’ve noticed is that passionate AGW proponents frequently utilize the same tactics:

    What, you mean telling the truth, explaining the science, and pointing out the flaws in all the denialist arguments (yes, I unashamedly call people who deny the reality of AGW “denialist”, because it is no longer rational to doubt that AGW is real)?

    1) Bombarding the thread with countless posts all saying basically the same thing, with the intention of overwhelming any possible counter voice with the weight of numbers

    The pro-AGW arguers all say the same thing because there’s basically only one version of reality.

    As for having any intention of overwhelming counter-arguments, this suggests a level of coordination that I doubt actually exists. Do you have some evidence that the quantity of posts is anything other than an indication of the number of people who recognise the reality of AGW?

    2) Repeating over and over again that the science is settled, that the evidence is overwhelming, that nobody in their right mind would possibly disagree, that anyone who does disagree must be either mentally ill or a shill for some corporate right wing cause

    And you have a problem with this because . . . ?

    What if the science rally is settled? What if the evidence (the actual evidence, not the manufactured “talking points” spread by the anti-AGW lobby) really is overwhelmingly indicating that AGW is real? What if it is genuinely irrational to question AGW?

    As for that last part, you missed out a dupe of the shills for Big Oil / Big Coal (because, face it, the fossil fuel industry has a huge interest in maintaining the status quo here, and would be irreparably damaged by people learning the truth). The fossil fuel industries are (in combination) richer than most governments. They have plenty of money to spend on PR and advertising and misinformation campaigns. Whereas climatologists have the odd few dollars to spare (on account of spending all their grant money doing what they said in their grant applications that they would do). The parallel between Big Oil and the tobacco industry of about 30 years ago is almost too obvious (a massively rich vested interest fighting dirty to maintain the status quo and keep their markets ignorant of the truth).

    I’ve seen accusations of climatologists having some kind of socalist green agenda, but I’ve never seen any of these accusations supported by one shred of evidence. Unless having a socialist green agenda means genuinely being concerned about what we are doing to the prospects of our grandchildren having somewhere to live. I’ve even seen accusations that climatologists are creating a massive scare-story conspiracy in order to keep the grant money coming in, and this just proves the insanity of some of the naysayers: if climatologists were in it for the money, they’d all either have become lawyers or doctors, or would go and work for Big Oil.

    3) Constant appeals to the power of consensus and the insinuation that the counter-consensus is so small as to be negligible and laughable.

    Well, yeah. In the absence of possessing expert knowledge of a complesx subject oneself, one must concede the significance of a consensus of experts. No serious climatologists doubt AGW. 20 years ago, it was a different story. The evidence was not so good, and many climatologists were sceptical that AGW was real. Guess what happened? We got more and better-quality evidence. The models became more convincing. The sceptical climatologists became convinced, by the mounting evidence, that AGW is real.

    Did you have a point to make?

    4) Claiming that skeptic scientists are all frauds and charlatans, when in fact there are many highly respected scientists who have extremely valid objections to the models, the methodology and the data in question

    Such as who, exactly?

    I do not believe that there are any serious scientists who possess relevant expertise who doubt AGW. If there are, they’ve been hiding under a rock while the storm raged around them.

    It is true that some respected scientists do doubt AGW, but they are not climatologists, so their expertise is not relevant. Never forget that even Nobel-prizewinning scientists can believe wrong things, especially when they stray outside their own field.

    5) Casting aside any question that academia itself is a culture and a mindset that is prone and subject to ideological bias and emotional influence, and that academia is a hotbed of left wing and anticapitalist bias, that climate science represents perhaps the most persuasive and dramatic platform on which to call for the very economic and social change that leftists have been calling for since long before AGW even became an issue.

    Eh?

    Who’s calling for any changes other than reductions in CO2 (and methane) emissions?

    You’ve lost me on this one. First, you present no evidence that academia is biased in the way you claim (i.e. leftist / anti-capitalist). Unless, of course, you are implying that the act of learning stuff causes one to develop a leftist / anti-capitalist bias. Second, I’ve yet to see any climatologist press for any change other than reducing the concentrations of GHGs in our atmosphere. So what are these economic and social changes that are being called for (other than those that may be necessary to reduce our collective output of greenhouse gases)? Who is calling for them?

    6) Either ignoring all legitimate scientific objections to AGW,

    Such as what?

    While the climate is a complicated thing to model in any detail, the basic ideas are pretty simple:
    1. CO2 is proven to be a greenhouse gas (and so is methane);
    2. Human activity is increasing the atmospheric conentration of these gases;
    3. There is a strong correlation between the recent increases in anthropogenic GHG emissions and the unprecendented rate of increase in average global temperature.
    4. GW (whether anthropogenic or not) is a bad thing.
    5. The dots are not hard to join.

    or sweeping them aside by swiftly pointing out that those who agree with AGW have themselves pooh-poohed the objections (and thus appealing to the power of consensus again).

    Yes, there’s the risk of making an argument from authority if you don’t have all the facts and figures at your fingertips. But most of the objections to AGW I have seen made don’t deal with the actual facts, they either attempt to change what those facts mean or attempt to divert attention to the irrelevant. For example, I have yet to see any AGW-denier even attempt to deal with the fact that all of the world’s glaciers (except one) are shrinking. The volume of ice in the Arctic Ocean is trending downwards, but the AGW-deniers try to shift attention to the area of the sea ice as if that were a more significant measure (it isn’t).

    And of course “deniers” are frequently portrayed as “dangerous.” At the very least their views are tactically equated with such quackery as homeopathy, and these talking points make the rounds very quickly, via widespread articles titled “how to talk to a climate change denier” etc.

    In fact, AGW-denial is probably more dangerous than homeopathy. Or do you relish the prospect of seeing the Maldives disappear beneath the Pacific? And large parts of London, New York and New Orleans (and other major coastal cities) being underwater every high tide? And about half of Bangladesh becoming uninhabitable? These outcomes are not fantasy, they are completely plausible within the next 100 years if we don’t do something about it.

    I’m not a scientist,

    Obviously.

    but I like to think that I’m fair, objective and honest

    As do we all. Is your wish relevant here, though? Are you, for instance, allowing your desire to be objective to override your ability to detect objectivity in yourself?

    – as well as being intelligent enough to follow the gist of a scientific argument. And I have followed both sides of the argument.

    And can you tell that one side (AGW is real) has pretty much all of the science behind it (temperature data, atmospheric chemistry, ice cover data, mathematical modelling, historical proxies), while the other (AGW is false) has none?

    I do not believe that the loudest proponents of AGW are being entirely fair or objective at all.

    Really? And what do you think those “loudest proponents” are actually saying? Have you been duped by the strawman arguments of the AGW-deniers? And irrespective of how loudly anyone is making a claim, do you follow that claim back to its source?

    I also do not believe that they expose themselves to both sides of the debate – they have their viewpoint, set in stone, and expose themselves only to articles and sites written and maintained by people on “their side.” If there’s any debunking of skeptic claims to be done, they’ll get those talking points from those same pre-approved sites.

    So, does this mean you object to the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” school of thinking?

    If an anti-AGW claim is false (and very nearly all of them are), what’s wrong with taking an argument that has refuted the claim once and repeating it, rather than re-inventing the wheel?

    For every piece of “irrefutable evidence” that they cite as “irrefutable proof” that the science is settled, they ignore the almost constant stream of revelations and findings which cast doubt on many of those claims.

    I have not ever seen this occur, and you have not presented any evidence to support your claim. Do you have any?

    Dare to bring any of it up, and they’ll waste no time in letting you know that the source is some right wing hooey or other who can’t be trusted.

    And many of the leading anti-AGW figures have indeed been shown to be in the pockets of BigOil / Big Coal. And have been shown to make arguments that may seem reasonable but are really so much horse-hooey. What makes you think this is not relevant?

    Climate science is complex and requires an understanding of statistics that many scientists do not have, never mind the laity. Many aspects of chemistry, for example, are straightforward (it either goes boom or it doesn’t, in a rather simplistic caricature). Climate science, by way of contrast, requires the identification of a signal from some pretty noisy data. And this requires some powerful statistical tools, and it requires that the tools are applied appropriately. It also leaves plenty of room to raise objections to the science that seem reasonable while being fundamentally flawed. It also explains why climatologists have taken the best part of 30 years to reach a broad consensus.

    Meanwhile scientists with distinctly socialist and anticapitalist views have nothing but pure, objective, scientific motives and are to be completely trusted in their findings and their conclusions.

    Individually, maybe not. Collectively, yes. And you yourself are raising irrelevant side issues and framing it as a political rtaher than factual issue. This is not a playground argument – the science really is saying only one major conclusion : that AGW is a real phenomenon and it is a threat to our civilisation.

    I have over the years taken the viewpoint that the climate is indeed changing, but also that there is and never has been any such thing as a “default” climate for Earth, that it constantly changes and that any attempt to stabilize it represents a preposterous waste of wealth.

    And this is completely irrelevant. In fact, it is a typical denialist talking point. Natural or not, GW is a threat to our civilisation. Altered rainfall patterns, rising sea levels, drought famine, mass migration – these are going to be real unless we act to stabilise the changing climate.

    Additionally, the current rate of warming is unprecedented. Human ctivity is causing far faster warming than has occurred in the past.

    I also believe that humanity is better off channeling its wealth and resources into adapting to climate change rather than trying to stop it. Adaptation requires great material wealth, and capitalism has undeniably been the greatest source of material wealth in human history.

    So you think it’s OK for the USA and China (for example) to screw up the world’s climate and leave Bangladesh (one of the world’s poorest nations, and one of the lowest-lying too) to deal with the consequences do you?

    And more people die every year of poverty than will die of climate change in even the most dire predictions. The poor are, of course, more at risk from climate change than the wealthy.

    So what are you going to do about that? Sit there and pat yourself on the back and remind yourself how your relative wealth refelcts your intrinsic value? Or play your part in helping to save thousands of lives?

    The cause of their poverty is a lack of freedom, democracy and capitalism.

    Rubbish.

    As often as not, the biggest cause of poverty is past exploitation by imperialists who plundered the region for its resources and then left when the locals wanted a slice of the cake. Even now, trade terms are hugely biased to keep prices in the rich nations low and wages in the producing countries miserly. How else is the coffee you are drinking able to be grown and then transported halfway around the world for a handful of pennies? Certainly not by supporting a minimum wage law in the producing nation.

    They deserve access to the same engines of wealth that have improved our Western lives to such a dramatic extent, that have more than doubled our life expectancy in less than 200 years.

    The engines of wealth that drove western lifestyles were, as often as not, achieved through exploitation. Slave labour was a part of it, but as often as not we simply moved in, evicted the locals with our superior weaponry and used their land to produce whatever was valuable at the time. Certainly this is representative of much of the colonial history of Africa. And of North America. If you are a USAian, you owe just as much to your nation’s imperial past* as anyone from Britain. Innovation and enterprise played their parts of course, but the scene required for innovation and enterprise to flourish was built on conquest.

    * Yes, I know the USA is a republic. But it has only very recently been a republic for everyone who lives there. The USA of 100 years ago was a cruel place unless you were of European stock.

    At the end of the day, all objections to AGW are self-defeating, because oil and coal are finite resources. Thus, irrespective of what the climate does over the next 200 years, we need to find alternative ways to generate power and transport ourselves and our goods if we want to continue living the way we have become accustomed.

  224. Nigel Depledge

    A couple of additional thoughts for Jason (235) –

    20 or so years ago, I was not merely sceptical of AGW, but verging on denying that it could be possible. I thought it was, to be brutal, all a bunch of tree-hugging hippy crap. Since then, the only evidence I have seen reported indicates that the case for AGW being real has simply got stronger and stronger. Ice sheets are melting. Glaciers are retreating. Sea levels are rising (averaging about 3 mm per year IIRC). And still we do too little to make a difference.

    Also, as a scientist who isn’t a climatologist, I am inclined to trust the experts. The collective noun for scientists ought to be “an argument”. If an entire field of scientists agree about something, it is only because the evidence is so compelling that disagreement is obviously irrational. Scientists delight in finding flaws in their peers’ work. If they have reached a consensus, you can bet that it will be so only because there is no choice. As for the idea of some global climate-science conspiracy, the idea is quite clearly utterly ludicrous. (Well, it is clearly so to anyone who has worked in any kind of science).

  225. ginckgo

    People use logical fallacy terms incorrectly all the time. Like many others, calling someone incompetent is only an ‘ad hominem’ if you don’t support that statement with relevant and correct reasons. So, raising the issue of Spencer’s rejection of science in the case of evolution in order to understand why he’s rejecting science in the case of global warming is not an ad hominem

  226. Shaun

    Im still waiting to find out what the mass conspiracy is among all the climate scientist. Please not the cap and trade, Al Gore and that other nonsense. There are thousands of scientist who work in the field of climate science, oceans studies, etc. just explain how they are all in on this big conspiracy together and what there end goal is.

  227. Undeniable

    225. Nigel Depledge Says:

    [snip] Second, all people who are open to persuasion by the evidence have been persuaded by the evidence that AGW is real. So, all of the true sceptics have been convinced by the weight of evidence that AGW is real.

    Therefore, anyone who questions the reality of AGW and calls themselves a sceptic is either:
    1. Deluded, or
    2. Lying.

    An example of sceptical thinking at it’s finest. Your ‘argument’ here reads like a Monty Python script.

    Doubt over the reality of AGW is no longer a rational position. Therefore, anyone who continues to doubt AGW is either a denier (i.e. someone who is aware of the evidence but denies that it means what nearly all of the experts say it means) or has been duped by the deniers.

    Come on! This is just ridiculous. How could you possibly keep a straight face when you were writing this? You have totally forgotten what sceptical thinking is about.

    [snip] It is factually correct, because it precisely describes what the Big Oil shills and their dupes are doing.

    Please. Not the “Big Oil” nonsense again. I’m losing the will to live at this point…

    Whether it is productive or not remains open as far as I can tell.

    According to opinion polls the answer is no.

    If it offends you, then stop denying that the overwhelming preponderance of evidence signifies a real phenomenon. [snip]

    Do you ever actually look around at the world? I mean, if not for news items / blog postings about AGW, would you have any idea that it was happening? The answer is surely no.

    241. Nigel Depledge Says:

    Sea levels are rising (averaging about 3 mm per year IIRC)

    There is nothing unusual about a 3mm/year increase. It has been going on for centuries and has no connection whatever to AGW. Like other supposed dangerous effects of AGW this is a damp squib.

  228. Undeniable

    221. Steve Metzler Says:

    Yes, because even though you say that you are open to persuasion by evidence,

    Actually, I didn’t say *I* am open to persuasion. But as it happens, I am.

    when push comes to shove, people who deny the reality of AGW keep moving the goalposts.

    You mean like: New ice age / Global warming / Climate change / Cimate disruption? Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

    With climate change, the signal/noise ratio is very small.

    How do you know? You’re ‘listening’ to a signal consisting of white, pink and red noise mixed together and then saying it has a high signal to noise ratio!?

    But you can see the temps since pre-industrial times going inexorably upwards.

    Luboš Motl has recently uncovered the fact that according to raw temperature data it has actually got cooler in 30% of places since records began.

    It would seem that 95% confidence levels just aren’t good enough though, huh? That means there’s only a 1/20 chance that the observed warming has a ‘natural’ cause.

    According to what logic?

    OK, I’ll bite: what evidence (that we don’t already have in the peer reviewed literature) would convince you that the globe is warming at an unprecedented rate and that mankind is the primary cause of that warming?

    It would be a start if the globe actually got warmer, rather than just parts of it. But really, you are leaving out by far the most important question, which is: Is it dangerous? As far as I can see, the answer is quite clearly NO.

  229. Undeniable

    236. Messier Tidy Upper Says:

    @219. Undeniable :

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: The term “denier” is factually incorrect, ..

    Debateable – at best.

    If someone is denying the reality of physics which is that carbon dioxide does trap heat and the reality of recorded history and observed climatology that human carbon dioxide emissions *are* responsible for a certain level of Global Over-heating and will be responsible for more global overheating as they continue to rise then they’re the one’s being factually incorrect.

    By ‘factually incorrect’ I mean that the term ‘denier’ assumes that (in regard to AGW) an individual is either:

    1) Aware that AGW is true and is arguing against it for political or other reasons, or:

    2) Is ignoring or rejecting out of hand the evidence in favour of AGW.

    My point is that in the majority of cases, it is ‘factually incorrect’ to label people “deniers” because they do not fit into 1) or 2) above, they simply doubt the evidence. (Whether AGW is true or not is irrelevant to this argument)

    [snip]

    … counter-productive and offensive.

    Perhaps.

    That’s why I prefer to use the term ‘Climate Contrarians’ rather than “denier” personally.

    There is an association with the term “holocaust denier” with the latter here which, I think, is best avoided.

    Thank you for saying that.

  230. Nigel Depledge

    Undeniable (244) said:

    An example of sceptical thinking at it’s finest. Your ‘argument’ here reads like a Monty Python script.

    But I notice that you have no rebuttal to it, and are merely whining again.

    Do you have an argument to make, or are you just going to play your rhetorical games and made snide remarks with no substance?

  231. Nigel Depledge

    Undeniable (244) said:

    Come on! This is just ridiculous. How could you possibly keep a straight face when you were writing this? You have totally forgotten what sceptical thinking is about.

    Er, no, what I said is correct.

    Did you have any real objection to it? No?

    Oh, well.

  232. Nigel Depledge

    Undeniable (244) said:

    Do you ever actually look around at the world? I mean, if not for news items / blog postings about AGW, would you have any idea that it was happening? The answer is surely no.

    Eh?

    So, you seem to be saying that just noticing stuff trumps measurements and statistical analysis of those measurements. Sadly for you, the climate is sufficiently complex that your personal method for data acquisition will tell you precisely nothing.

    If it were not for the reporting of the fact that many glaciers have retreated by up to a kilometre in the last 100 years, I would not know about it because I don’t live near any glaciers. This does not mean that those glaciers have not been melting. That I have never visited the Arctic Ocean does not change the fact that the ice volume is lower now than it has ever been. And so on.

    241. Nigel Depledge Says:

    Sea levels are rising (averaging about 3 mm per year IIRC)

    There is nothing unusual about a 3mm/year increase. It has been going on for centuries and has no connection whatever to AGW. Like other supposed dangerous effects of AGW this is a damp squib.

    At last, an attempt at a rebuttal. Sadly for you, you are merely repeating a lie of the anti-AGW shills. You lose.

  233. Nigel Depledge

    Undeniable (245) said:

    You mean like: New ice age / Global warming / Climate change / Cimate disruption? Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

    It’s really not clear if you even understand what you are saying here.

    First, the “new ice age” thing was never widely accepted among scientists in the ’70s – it was just one of those things that was picked up by the media and blown out of proportion.

    Second, it was the anti-AGW crowd who introduced the term “climate change” to replace “global warming”, I guess because they felt it gave the impression of a lesser problem.

    Third, I had not even heard of “climate disruption” until today. The science press that I read has not used this term. It seems likely to me that it is another politicised sound-bite,

    So, once again, you are making insinuations (which it is not clear that you yourself understand) rather than trying to assemble an argument to make a point.

    Here’s a thought – why don’t you go and put a bit more thought into your comments, and actually argue against any viewpoint with which you disagree, rather than simply firing off snide and meaningless (but negative-sounding) remarks?

  234. Nigel Depledge

    Undeniable (246) said:

    By ‘factually incorrect’ I mean that the term ‘denier’ assumes that (in regard to AGW) an individual is either:

    1) Aware that AGW is true and is arguing against it for political or other reasons, or:

    2) Is ignoring or rejecting out of hand the evidence in favour of AGW.

    My point is that in the majority of cases, it is ‘factually incorrect’ to label people “deniers” because they do not fit into 1) or 2) above, they simply doubt the evidence. (Whether AGW is true or not is irrelevant to this argument)

    Your argument here is a false dichotomy.

    People can be deniers and not fit into (1) or (2) above because they deny either that AGW is a threat or that AGW is real despite not being qualified to make a judgement. Alternatively, people can deny that the evidence is as overwhelming as the climatologists tell us it is, and with the same lack of qualification to judge it. You seem to fit into one of these categories yourself.

    If anyone disagrees with what the world’s climatologists are telling us, then there are three courses of action available:
    1. Accept what the experts say (because maybe someone who has spent 30 years studying a subject really does know what they’re talking about);
    2. Become sufficiently acquainted with the methodology and detail of the primary literature to make an independent and informed evaluation of the claims; or
    3. Deny that the claims are true (or deny that the conclusions are firmly supported), irrespective of other considerations (whether these considerations be political, financial interest, or mere ignorance and wishful thinking).

    In science, a consensus of experts carries weight. The world’s climatologists are almost unanimously telling the rest of us that AGW is real and it is a bad thing. AFAICT, the evidence is overwhelmingly in support of this conclusion. I am not a climatologist, so I have to either trust them or become sufficiently informed that I can evaluate the primary literature (all of it, not a mere dozen papers) for myself. In the absence of any reason to distrust climatologists, I choose to trust them (and save myself a couple of years – at least – of slogging through climatology papers).

    So, in summary, I reject your argument because your assumptions ignore the fact that to “simply doubt the evidence” is no longer a reasonable position to adopt, and one can only make a rational challenge to the validity of the evidence if one becomes sufficiently familiar with all of the relevant literature. I think you write “simply doubt the evidence” when you actually mean “fail to understand either the evidence or its import”.

    Everyone who does understand the evidence (i.e. the world’s climatologists) is telling us that AGW is real and it is a bad thing.

  235. Argus Array

    Nigel Depledge, thanks for answering denier Undeniable’s warm air posts. Your replies are interesting reading:)

    Undeniable also wrote: “Is it dangerous? As far as I can see, the answer is quite clearly NO.”

    One of the symptoms of denial is minimisation – admit the fact but deny its seriousness. So Undeniable, you are quite clearly a denier.

  236. Cam

    Its SNOWING in Auckland, New Zealand today for the first recorded time in 80 years, meanwhile the rest of our country is blanketed by unprecedented snow falls. So there are some places in the world that are anything but warming.

  237. ElviraM

    I’m no sceptic, but Chris Lindsay is doing exactly what they claim we are doing when he says the Russian permafrost is melting etc… Look at the article more closely dammit!

    http://news.discovery.com/earth/russia-permafrost-meltdown-110729.html

    It says it *WILL* melt in future time at a great rate, presumably based on expected warming. It’s people reading science sloppily and making crazy claims based on sloppy reading that give the sceptics ammunition to call us ‘hysterical’.

  238. Donni Doophuss

    As Cam so clearly points out, how can the planet be warming when it is snowing in some places? The prejudice of climate “scientists” would dismiss Cam as a denier, and say that local weather patterns are merely noise to a long term measurement of climatic warming. I suppose that people like Phil, that use logic and science all the time, would laugh at Cam’s observation and tell Cam that they are ignorant of what climate science is about. But someone has to fight these so called “experts” by pointing out that the local weather is cold despite it 97% of so called climate “scientists”, who should know what they’re talkin’ about, are agreed that the whole planet is warming.
    Isn’t it obvious that global warming has no evidence apart from all the science?

  239. Heather

    The global warming theory predicts what amount of heat the earth should be radiating into space, for the theory to be accurate.

    Either the amount of heat radiating into space is the amount the theory predicts or it isn’t. How hard is that? A scientific theory is supposed to be able to predict these things right?

    So does the amount of heat eascaping fill the prediction of the theory or doesn’t it. If it does then global warming has an indicator that is correct, if it doesn’t then we have an indictator that it is wrong.

    Any other conclusion is not based on science; any other conclusion is based on blind faith in climate theory and makes it a religion and not science!

  240. PJ

    So, some commenters are real impressed with RealClimate denying the science in this paper: “The basic material in the paper has very basic shortcomings because no statistical significance of results, error bars or uncertainties are given either in the figures or discussed in the text. ”

    Well, THAT is quite a lark. RealClimate has now become DENIALIST central, busy trying to refute peer-reviewed articles that undermine the alarmist cause. Problem is, their critiques are more apropos the Mann papers and other alarmist-leaning papers that did very poorly in statistical modeling.

    The one sure thing the Spencer paper brings out is the value of cross-checking models with the intermediate timeframe data, and the fact that the models lack precision and correlation to these near-term tropics effects.

    Denying this is to deny the science involved. We see this time and time again – realclimate is just an advocacy site for ‘team A’ with axes to grind that are sharper than any of those they call ‘denialists’ they oppose. Their ‘science’ is dubious, based on flawed models, and rather than accept the fact that their models have flaws, they engage in attacks and ad hominems. That’s not science, that’s politics.

    The wheel sure turns.

  241. PJ

    “Also, the 10-year time-span that Spencer cherry picked for his analysis is hardly indicative of climate.”

    ROFLMAO! Cherry-picked?!? So now picking the last 10 years of our global temperature / heat records – because that’s what we have accurate satellite sensing data for – is ‘cherry picking’?!?

    What, and picking on tree in Siberia and a few bristlecones to ‘prove’ AGW is not?!? The mind boggles at the sophistry and double-talk.

  242. PJ

    “There are thousands of scientist who work in the field of climate science, oceans studies, etc. ”

    Yes, and one of them, Prof Roy Spencer of U of Alabama, has shown in the cited study that the models estimated warming in all likelihood overestimating the warming effect of CO2.

    Of course they are not all in on the ‘agenda’, but the curious thing is that when a paper that ‘dissents’ from the ‘agenda’, it is attacked, suppressed and derided by the proponents of the agenda, and the ‘agenda’ climate scientists do their best to get these papers not published, not noticed, and not part of IPCC reports. If you want to know more about the skullduggery, look into the Climategate emails.

  243. Dave R

    Editor-in-Chief of Remote Sensing agrees that Spencer and Braswell (2011) should not have been published; resigns

    scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2011/09/editor_of_remote_sensing_agree.php

  244. Dave R

    Peer reviewed rebuttal by Andrew Dessler now published in Geophysical Research Letters:

    scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2011/09/dessler_shows_that_clouds_aren.php

  245. frozn-boyln

    The problem with climate science is not the science, it’s the solution proposed by scientists, and the assumption that if change weren’t anthropogenic, there would be no problem. Climate change is underscored by the extreme variety of sediment in the geologic record. Climate is never static. Disasters are a part of our past and future.

    Climate scientists are poor historians, and hence draw poor conclusions about both the anthropogenic and natural effects of the future. This has set “climate science” back 20 years. Anyone who would say climate scientists are all purists believes that Al Gore uses fewer net hydrocarbons than someone with less money.

    It’s really about our ability to do the math on a growing population with a need for energy.

    You waxed political, and you’re surprised that there’s a political response?

  246. Undeniable

    252. Argus Array Says:

    Nigel Depledge, thanks for answering denier Undeniable’s warm air posts. Your replies are interesting reading:)

    Your definition of “interesting” is clearly different to mine.

    Undeniable also wrote: “Is it dangerous? As far as I can see, the answer is quite clearly NO.”

    One of the symptoms of denial is minimisation – admit the fact but deny its seriousness. So Undeniable, you are quite clearly a denier.

    Whether I am a “denier” or not is irrelevant to the point(s) I am making, something which seems to escape you and others on here. Do you have an answer to my point?

  247. Dennis

    If global warming is real, it is not likely to be caused by CO2.
    CO2 makes up approximately 392ppm of our atmosphere (as of July 2011). It has a specific heat capacity of 0.821 kj/KgK at the average temperature of earth, 15C. Water vapor which makes up about 2.5% of the atmosphere has a specific heat capacity of 4.186 kj/KgK at 15C.
    So the heat capacity of water vapor is 4.7 times greater than CO2 and there is about 64 times as much water vapor in the air, Therefore, the water vapor in the atmosphere holds about 300 times as much heat as CO2. C02 is responsible for 1/3 of 1 percent of the heat holding ability of the atmosphere. Do you wonder why no one believes in CO2 causing global warming?

  248. Lemuel Franco

    #264 Undeniable, did you have a point to make rather than merely offering the opinion that global warming isn’t dangerous? I too find Nigel Depledge’s posts interesting. Your definition of “interesting” most likely excludes your getting your butt handed back to you.
    #262 Dennis, have you written up your findings for that 97% of blinkered climate scientists? I’m sure you’ll win a Nobel prize for your work. NOT!

  249. Martin J.Uttich

    The says: Scientists trying to tell people what the science is telling them aren’t alarmists.

    Really thats laughable, those who contradict your statements about global warming are deniers, but your scientist are not alarmist. LOL I needed a good joke. Furthermore, you suggest because the funding was from Exxon that the data is wrong, but how much money have the global warming alarmist scientist stuffed in there pockets from liberal governments who have taken it from the taxpayers to keep you fat and happy?

  250. Martin J.Uttich

    I wonder what the standard of living would be for the liberal university scientist without the billions of dollars of money? They would be unemployed scientist trying to find other ways to scam the general public.

  251. Anonymous

    Just a warning:

    We have hacked the rest of the emails. People said it would take years to do with a brute force attack, but we’ve done it in a matter of weeks.

    We feel we should be telling any ‘scientist’ with a conscience that you better stop towing the party line very soon. The emails are extremely damaging and go all the way to the top (Heads of countries). There is going to be anarchy when we release the rest of the emails, and people like you, who tow the party line, might be the first to take the inevitable fall.

    So do what you will. You have been warned.

    The greatest hoax governments and communists have ever tried to pull will come tumbling down in the new year. Do you really want to tumble with it?

    Good luck :)

    Anonymous

  252. Barry Hofman

    I find your rebuff of this article interesting however you didn’t refute the global cooling finding. I guess those are just hard data points and they are difficult to refute. I’m curious if you believe in the forecasts of models predicting further global warming. The addition of more and more CO2 is not causing global warming (at least in the last 10 years) so what is it?

  253. llew Jones

    Notice that almost every poster here seems totally ignorant of the inadequacies of the IPCC variety of climate science to explain why, despite atmospheric CO2 concentrations rising rapidly, the average global temperature is not doing much at all in response. Spencer who is as well credentialed as any climate scientist accepts the Arrhenius relationship between increasing atmospheric CO2 and increasing temperature but like any intelligent person should is seeking to find out why the data is not confirming that relationship.

    The IPCC relationship that quantifies AGW. Tb – Ta = K ln(CO2b/CO2a).

    Apart from the nature of the feedbacks from clouds he holds the opinion that natural internal climate variability is enough to explain the tiny amount of global warming experienced since the Industrial Revolution.

    Maybe he is wrong but the evidence at this stage favours his guess and not that of those who have no reasonable explanation for the way our climate system is behaving despite CO2 increases of about 2ppm per year.

    Spencer represents a science based approach which always calls for evidence. A belief in human induced global warming without evidence is essentially a religious rather than a scientific approach.

  254. mach

    In response to distrusting it because it’s a science article in Forbes — an Op-Ed isn’t really an “article in Forbes.” They published it, but didn’t write or endorse it, unless they endorsed it elsewhere.

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